CoTW: LoTR, Bk.3, Ch.8, "The Road to Isengard"

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aelfwina

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Aug 22, 2004, 10:53:30 PM8/22/04
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Here's this weeks summary. I hope it's all right.

Chapter of the Week: LoTR, Book 3, Chapter 8, "The Road to Isengard"


In which Gandalf escorts Théoden and others to Orthanc; the warriors of Helm
's Deep learn the mystery of the wood; Legolas and Gimli make plans for the
future, and the Three Hunters are finally re-united with their wayward
hobbits.

SUMMARY:

The chapter opens with the joyful realization by our heroes that against all
odds, they have actually *won* the battle of Helm's Deep. Legolas and Gimli
compare their final scores: betwixt the two of them, they have accounted for
a total of 83 Orcs.

Éomer tells Gandalf he came "un-looked for." Gandalf reminds him that he
said he would be there. É omer responds "But you did not name the hour, not
foretell the manner of your coming. (1)

When Gandalf is given credit for the fortuitous appearance of the wood, he
laughs and answers with riddles. He is also evasive about Saruman, revealing
only that they go to parley, not to fight. (2) He advises that they rest and
travel by night. Gimli, who suffered a head wound is treated by Aragorn
while they rest. (3)

We now turn to the disposal of the dead from the battle. We learn that *no*
Orcs survived. Many of the Dunlenders did, however, and were set to digging
graves. They are surprised to be shown mercy, because of Saruman's
propaganda. (4)

The Riders are buried in two mounds, except for Há ma, who rated a separate
grave to himself.

The Orcs were simply piled up and left, as per Gandalf's instructions.

Come evening, those going to Isengard are sung on their way by those
remaining behind. There is an amazing and vivid description of the strange
as they pass through. (I envision it as something like the parting of the
Red Sea, only with trees.)

Of all the company only Legoals doesn't appear fearful, and even he seems to
have a slightly negative reaction. ( e.g., heat, feeling of wrath in
surroundings, ears throb). Gimli is quite fearful, but even in spite of his
fear, he is moved to give his most eloquent speech in the entire story, as
he describes the caverns of Helm's Deep.(6) I will not quote the entire
passabe, but it is another example of JRRT's ability to bring a place to
life quite vividly with evocative language.

It is immediately after this that Legolas and Gimli make their own pact
together to share a visit to the Caverns and to Fangorn. Neither is
particularly enthusiastic about the other's special place, yet each is eager
to share his own wondrous experience with the other. (7)

We then have more cryptic hints from Gandalf.

As the company passes out of the forest, Legolas sees eyes, and nearly turns
back. Gimli is horrified at the prospect; Gandalf stops him, saying "now is
not your time". Gandalf and Thé oden then have a discussion about children's
tales and fair things passing out of Middle-earth. (8)

As they ride towards Isengard, they note many depressing signs: carrion fowl
flocking over the battlefield at the Fords of Isen, howling wolves, a dry
stream-bed at the Fords. Yet to their amazement, they find that a nound has
been raised for the dead--and Galndal finally parts with a snippet of good
news--theat less were lost tns rumor had it, that survivors had raised the
ound (9) and that some of their number had gone to guard Edoras.

They continue the journey for some five more leagues, camping when it begins
to get dark. They are close enough to see the steams and fumes from the Ents
flooding Isengard, yet Gandalf *still* fails to enlighten them. The campers
find themselves surrounded and passed, by the departing Huorns.

There is mention of the disappearance of the slain Orcs at the Hornburg. It
is said nothing would grow where they were buried. (10)

King Théoden and company ride back out at dawn, in a heavy fog; everyone is
very glomy, wondering what Saruman has in store for them. They come finally
to the Wizard's Vale. There is a vivid description of what it *used* to look
like.

As they draw nearer, they pass the pillar of the Hand, and see the nails are
stained red.(11) and now they are able to see the destruction. Isengard is
in utter ruin. They are astounded to realize that Saruman has somehow been
overthrown.

Even more are they astounded to see two small figures--which turn out to be
Merry and Pippin, of course--taking their ease and smoking. The Rohirrim
have no idea of who or what they are until it is explained.

Merry welcomes them with a cheeky little speech. Before Théoden can respond,
Gimli interrupts to rant at the "wooly-pated, wooly-footed truants". (I love
his Dwarvish oath "Hammer and tongs!") He berates his erstwhile companions,
with Legolas lending laughing support. (12)

Théoden finds this reunion quite amusing; he asks Gandalf if these are the
folk of legend: the holbyltlan.

This causes Merry and Pippin to be equally amazed that anyone so far away
has ever heard of hobbits.

Before Gandalf, the king and his escort ride away to have a meal which
Treebeard has ordered prepared, Théoden kindly takes his leave of the two
hobbits, expressing the hope that they will converse again someday.

"The hobbits bowed low. 'So that is the King of Rohan!' said Pippin in an
undertone. 'A fine old fellow. Very polite!'

QUESTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS:

(1) For those who like to keep track of such things, something else that PJ
got wrong.

(2) Why is Gandalf so secretive? At this point--other than spoiling the
surprise, what difference would it have made to tell the others what had
occurred at Orthanc?

(3) Another instance of Aragorn as healer. This always strikes me as a
significant aspect of his personality. Why is it so important that he *be* a
healer?

(4) Was this an aspect of Saruman's Voice, or plain old political
propaganda, demonizing the enemy?

(5) "The morning may bring new counsel" Did he have an idea that the Huorns
would take care of the disposal?

(6) This is a beautiful passage, and very descriptive of large caverns with
their stalagmites and stalactites. Does anyone know if JRRT ever visited any
caves or caverns? If he never did, how did he manage such an accurate
description?

(7) This bargain seems to me to be a significant point in their friendship.
Just what *does* it signify?

(8) A good place to dicusss Tolkien's feelings about fantastic tales being
relegated to the nursery, as revealed in "On Fairy Stories".

(9) I had always assumed that Théodred was buried at the Ford, but after the
discussion in the chapter before last, I see it is not so cut and dried. So,
what's the consensus: is he buried at the Ford or not?

(10) Why? Is there something poisonous in the make-up of an Orc?

(11) Who or what did this and why? It doesn't strike me as a very Entish
thing to do.

(12) Aragorn at this point says nothing; had he perhaps gleaned enough from
Gandalf's meager hints to have guessed they'd find the hobbits there? Or can
anyone think of another reason for his silence?

OTHER POINTS TO PONDER:

--There is some remarkably evocative language in this chapter, not only
Gimli's description of the caverns, which is incredibly beautiful, but also
of the passage of the Huorns, and also the description of Isengard as it
once was.

--Is it just me, or does anyone else find Gandalf excessively irritating in
this chapter? Is there a story internal reason he could not have just *said*
"Relax, Saruman's no longer a threat, and by the way our two missing hobbits
are there and are just fine." ?

--Gimli gets a fairly large role in this chapter, the long speech about the
caverns, his fear of the strange forest, and of course his humorous tirade
when the hobbits are found. We learn a lot more about him than Legolas.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

"These hobbits will sit on the edge of ruin and discuss the pleasures of the
table, or the small doings of their fathers, grandfathers, and
great-grandfathers, and remoter cousins to the ninth degree, if you
encourage them with undue patience."

aelfwina

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Aug 23, 2004, 3:19:36 AM8/23/04
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Sorry for the spelling typos and the problem with spaces after the accents!
I thought they were fixed. I just checked the document in my file, and they
*are* fixed there, but the changes disappeared when I posted it. ???????
Barbara

"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote in message
news:10iin1k...@corp.supernews.com...

Raven

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Aug 23, 2004, 7:16:47 PM8/23/04
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"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> skrev i en meddelelse
news:10iin1k...@corp.supernews.com...

> (2) Why is Gandalf so secretive? At this point--other than spoiling the
> surprise, what difference would it have made to tell the others what had
> occurred at Orthanc?

It could be that he isn't clear about it himself. He does know more than
he says, of course - we know from the next chapter that he visited Isengard
after the Ents had begun to redecorate it, before rejoining Théoden - but it
could be that he doesn't want to tell his companions half the tale when they
can see the whole tale next day. But he is already of a secretive nature.
He likes to tell people what they need to know, and moreso as Gandalf the
White than when he was Gandalf the Grey. One of his mission parameters is
to do as little as he can to help the Free Peoples because they should do as
much as possible themselves. In this case it is better for them to find out
for themselves than to sit back and let him tell them. A small item, but in
keeping with his mission parameters.

[Treating Gimli's head-wound]

> (3) Another instance of Aragorn as healer. This always strikes me as a
> significant aspect of his personality. Why is it so important that he *be*
> a healer?

It could be just his natural compassion and his skill in acting on it,
just as he treated Frodo as best he could at Weathertop, and as he healed
people left and right at the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith. Or it could
be in furtherance of his upcoming kingship, where the Healing Hand was as
important as the Slaying Sword to aid his claim.

[The Rohirrim surprising the Dunlendings by not roasting them alive]

> (4) Was this an aspect of Saruman's Voice, or plain old political
> propaganda, demonizing the enemy?

Saruman was at this time the servant and apprentice of Sauron, master of
lies. I see it as plain old perlittical propaganda. I should not be
surprised if Saruman said to the Dunlendings that the Rohirrim ate babies as
well, using his Voice to add to the persuasion. Joseph Goebbels and Julius
Streicher and that gang of hysterical antisemites were amateurs next to
Saruman as described in "The Voice of Saruman".

> (5) "The morning may bring new counsel" Did he have an idea that the
> Huorns would take care of the disposal?

He probably did, but he probably did not *know*. Gandalf appears to know
fairly little about Ents and Huorns, partly because there is so very much to
know about them, and he is not very secretive about his ignorance on this
point.

[Nothing would grow on the mound where the Orcs were buried]

> (10) Why? Is there something poisonous in the make-up of an Orc?

This is a mythical world, where evil will leaves an aura of infertility.
Just as the so-called "Eternal Jew", the one who refused to lend Jesus a
hand on the latter's way to Golgata, wandered around forever as a
punishment, and if he rested on a plough that had been left outside on
Christmas night then the fields ploughed by it would not grow any crops. Or
something. And just as the place where the Fell Beast was burnt on the
Pelennor remained bare ever after, but Snowmane's mound remained green ever
after.

[Red fingernails on the statue of the White Hand]

> (11) Who or what did this and why? It doesn't strike me as a very Entish
> thing to do.

It may be that the statue had been constantly polished to prevent this,
except that the service had been neglected since Treebeard took over
management, or (more likely, to my mind) that the mists caused by the Ents
flooding Isengard to the hurt of Saruman also discoloured the monument that
Saruman had raised for himself. A swift rusting, perhaps; the fingernails
were probably already painted by Saruman's design - though not in red. I
certainly don't think that the Ents or the Huorns coloured the fingernails
on that statue. When they did come upon it, they smashed it. It was a sign
that Saruman was defeated. One must expect such in a mythical world, even
if the sign be not of the kind put up by the municipality.

Kruk.


Dirk Thierbach

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Aug 24, 2004, 1:15:06 PM8/24/04
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aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:

> (3) Another instance of Aragorn as healer. This always strikes me as
> a significant aspect of his personality. Why is it so important that
> he *be* a healer?

I think it is connected to the "the king is a healer" myth, that's
mentioned more explicitely later on. Funnily enough, the only instance
of the myth I can think of is LotR. Can anyone point me to some
fairy-tales etc. having this myth?

> (4) Was this an aspect of Saruman's Voice, or plain old political
> propaganda, demonizing the enemy?

Is there a difference? :-)

> (6) This is a beautiful passage, and very descriptive of large caverns with
> their stalagmites and stalactites.

Yes, I like it too.

> Does anyone know if JRRT ever visited any caves or caverns? If he
> never did, how did he manage such an accurate description?

So one can probably infer that he did visit a cave at some time.

> (7) This bargain seems to me to be a significant point in their
> friendship. Just what *does* it signify?

I have never seen this as a significant point; I always associated
it with the "cat and dog" mentality of elves and dwarves, which is
here made explicit in a nice way.

> --There is some remarkably evocative language in this chapter, not only
> Gimli's description of the caverns, which is incredibly beautiful, but also
> of the passage of the Huorns, and also the description of Isengard as it
> once was.

In what way you think it is "evocative language"? Just curious, because
for me, those passages never stood out compared to other descriptions.
(And actually I had a wrong image of Isengard for a long time, until
I looked a bit closer).

> --Is it just me, or does anyone else find Gandalf excessively irritating in
> this chapter?

As Gandalf the White, he must probably exaggerate all his character
traits :-)

Is there a story internal reason he could not have just *said*

> FAVORITE QUOTE:


>
> "These hobbits will sit on the edge of ruin and discuss the pleasures of the
> table, or the small doings of their fathers, grandfathers, and
> great-grandfathers, and remoter cousins to the ninth degree, if you
> encourage them with undue patience."

I have always liked the whole passage when Theoden meets the Hobbits.

- Dirk

Emma Pease

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Aug 24, 2004, 8:54:09 PM8/24/04
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In article <2004082417150...@ID-7776.user.dfncis.de>, Dirk Thierbach wrote:
> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>
>> (3) Another instance of Aragorn as healer. This always strikes me as
>> a significant aspect of his personality. Why is it so important that
>> he *be* a healer?
>
> I think it is connected to the "the king is a healer" myth, that's
> mentioned more explicitely later on. Funnily enough, the only instance
> of the myth I can think of is LotR. Can anyone point me to some
> fairy-tales etc. having this myth?

Do a google search on touching for the King's evil. This was a
ceremony where the king touched someone suffering from scrofula (TB of
the neck) in the belief that it would cure them. I think the last
British monarch to do this was Queen Anne in the early 1700s.

--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht

Shanahan

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Aug 24, 2004, 11:56:09 PM8/24/04
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aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> creatively typed:

> Chapter of the Week: LoTR, Book 3, Chapter 8, "The Road to
> Isengard"
> In which Gandalf escorts Théoden and others to Orthanc; the
> warriors of Helm 's Deep learn the mystery of the wood; Legolas
> and Gimli make plans for the future, and the Three Hunters are
> finally re-united with their wayward hobbits.
<snip>
> The Riders are buried in two mounds, except for Háma, who rated

> a separate grave to himself.

I've wondered about this a little. Why does Háma receive this
special treatment? It seems a bit much for a simple Captain of the
Guard. Wouldn't it be more likely that some brave "Lord of the
House of Eorl" would receive such an honor? Perhaps Háma was
related to Théoden, although that would probably have been
mentioned.

I got a clue to this problem when I read Shippey's _Author of the
Century_. In 'Mapping out the Plot', Cultural Parallels - the
Riders of the Mark, he notes the relative informality of the
Riders' military/social structure. (So Háma's burial honor is an
acknowledgment of personal loyalty and bravery, rather than of
military or royal rank.) As evidence, Shippey notes a series of
incidents where officers disobey orders, instead obeying the
dictates of their own conscience. Éomer lets the Three Hunters go
and lends them horses; Éothain immediately questions this order;
the guard of Edoras lets the four pass inside even though they are
strangers; Háma lets Gandalf take his staff inside Meduseld, then
gives Éomer his sword back before he has permission to do so.
Shippey says this marks a more informal culture, one that is not
governed by written codes. "They are freer to make their own minds
up, and regard this as a duty. They surrender less of their
independence to their superiors than we do.... They can be at once
more ceremonious and more relaxed than modern people."

I think this is an acute observation. Shippey links it to the
Rohirrim's oral culture. As Aragorn says, "They are wise but
unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs..." Many of
these songs appear in the book; from the first one Aragorn sings to
Legolas and the rest, through Théoden's minstrel's song at his
burial, they are sorrowful songs that lament the swift passing of
the years and the necessity of death. Two more quick quotes from
Shippey about this:
"...in a culture with no written records that [elegy] is a major
function of poetry, at once to express and to resist the sadness of
oblivion. [...] Tolkien makes a point here.... that the very
fragility of record in such societies makes memory all the more
precious, its expressions both sadder and more triumphant."

> Come evening, those going to Isengard are sung on their way by
> those remaining behind. There is an amazing and vivid
> description of the strange as they pass through. (I envision it
> as something like the parting of the Red Sea, only with trees.)

When they see the Ents come out from the trees, they are described
as being "like wading herons in their gait". Does anyone except me
think that this means that Ents' knees bend backward?

> As the company passes out of the forest, Legolas sees eyes, and
> nearly turns back. Gimli is horrified at the prospect; Gandalf
> stops him, saying "now is not your time". Gandalf and Théoden
> then have a discussion about children's tales and fair things
> passing out of Middle-earth. (8)

"I wish to see no eyes!" <chuckle> I love this conversation
between Gandalf and Théoden. It's also kind of a reverse of
Celeborn's warning about Fangorn. Celeborn reminds Boromir to be
mindful of old wives' tales, for they "oft keep in memory things
that once were needful for the wise to know." And here, Gandalf
gently reminds Théoden to be mindful of children's tales. Cool.

> them. They come finally to the Wizard's Vale. There is a vivid
> description of what it *used* to look like.

I adore this description! I've spent many mostly fruitless hours
trying to memorize it. (And as Steuard notes, it contains the
longest single sentence in the book.) The way in which the passage
reinforces Saruman's evil, and his enormous folly, right before we
meet him for the first time, is lovely. In the same manner,
Isengard is described in full detail and all its power, moments
before we first witness its destruction. Gives the total
demolition that much more impact.

> (3) Another instance of Aragorn as healer. This always strikes
> me as a significant aspect of his personality. Why is it so
> important that he *be* a healer?

I'm reminded of English beliefs that the King can touch and cure
scrofula, called "the King's evil." And it rings faintly of Christ
the King, who heals. But story-internally, I think it is important
because it emphasizes Aragorn's Elvish descent. It's important for
the reader to recall that the blood of Men carries this faint
ennoblement, this Elven and even Maian strain. As we realize that
the Elves are passing forever from Middle Earth, we are comforted
to know that something of them still lives on.

Question: what do people think the significance of the 'twofold
meaning' of the name Orthanc may be? Why give this tower, of all
of them, a name that means two things in two different languages?
If it matters, then why shrug it off as a possible coincidence?

On another note: I seem to remember a note where Christopher
Tolkien says that his father was much interested in Rohirric
society near the end of his life, and was working on their social
structure and history. I can't find the reference. It follows a
description of Éomer and Aragorn's position in Théoden's army as
champions, rather than formal officers. Does anyone else know it?

FAVORITE QUOTE:
"Do you cut down groves of blossoming trees in the springtime for
firewood? We would tend these groves of blossoming stone, not
quarry them."

Ciaran S.
--
It's a grand life, if you don't tire.
-gaelic proverb


Kristian Damm Jensen

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Aug 25, 2004, 4:12:46 AM8/25/04
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Shanahan wrote:
> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> creatively typed:
> > Chapter of the Week: LoTR, Book 3, Chapter 8, "The Road to
> > Isengard"
> > In which Gandalf escorts Théoden and others to Orthanc; the
> > warriors of Helm 's Deep learn the mystery of the wood; Legolas
> > and Gimli make plans for the future, and the Three Hunters are
> > finally re-united with their wayward hobbits.
> <snip>
> > The Riders are buried in two mounds, except for Háma, who rated
> > a separate grave to himself.
>
> I've wondered about this a little. Why does Háma receive this
> special treatment? It seems a bit much for a simple Captain of the
> Guard. Wouldn't it be more likely that some brave "Lord of the
> House of Eorl" would receive such an honor? Perhaps Háma was
> related to Théoden, although that would probably have been
> mentioned.

"a simple Captain of the Guard"???

We don't know much about the military structure of the Rohirrim, but in
former times a captain was very high-ranking indeed. It may have been
the highest rank below marshall in the Rohan, but I will not press the
point.

Further "the Guard" is Theodens personal éored, the elite. Even if
Hama is not their leader, answering directly to Theoden, being a
captain in this force means a lot.

(Also remember that later on Aragorn is referred to only as captain -
even when he is leading the host of the west.)
<snip>

Regards,
Kristian

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 25, 2004, 7:20:27 AM8/25/04
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in <cghhlu$n...@odak26.prod.google.com>,
Kristian Damm Jensen <da...@ofir.dk> enriched us with:

>
> Shanahan wrote:
>> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> creatively typed:
>>>

<snip>

>>> The Riders are buried in two mounds, except for Háma, who rated
>>> a separate grave to himself.
>>
>> I've wondered about this a little. Why does Háma receive this
>> special treatment? It seems a bit much for a simple Captain of the
>> Guard.

<snip>

> "a simple Captain of the Guard"???
>
> We don't know much about the military structure of the Rohirrim, but
> in former times a captain was very high-ranking indeed. It may have
> been the highest rank below marshall in the Rohan, but I will not
> press the point.

Aragorn, in "The Steward and the King" is presented as "Captain of the
Host of the West" -- apparently 'captain' is the the word used generally
for 'commander' (there are many other examples where the top commander of
a host is referred to as its captain).

> Further "the Guard" is Theodens personal éored, the elite. Even if
> Hama is not their leader, answering directly to Theoden, being a
> captain in this force means a lot.

I can't see how "captain of the King's guard" can, in the context of
Tolkien, be seen as other than the officer leading the guard.

Being in the King's guard (being a full-time warrior at all) would also
imply that Háma was of noble birth -- not of the House of Éorl (that
appears to have included only Théoden, Éomer and Éowyn at that time), but
of a lesser house.

--
Troels Forchhammer

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

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 25, 2004, 7:33:22 AM8/25/04
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in <2004082417150...@ID-7776.user.dfncis.de>,
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> enriched us with:

>
> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>>
>> (3) Another instance of Aragorn as healer. This always strikes me as
>> a significant aspect of his personality. Why is it so important that
>> he *be* a healer?
>
> I think it is connected to the "the king is a healer" myth, that's
> mentioned more explicitely later on.
[...]

Others have already referred to the old legends that this ability was at
one point attributed to real kings and queens in Europe -- I suspect that
it might be related to the idea that the king's office was divinely
inspired.

Within the story I alse see Aragorn's healing powers as an aspect of his
role as Estel -- hope (trust).

>> (4) Was this an aspect of Saruman's Voice, or plain old political
>> propaganda, demonizing the enemy?
>
> Is there a difference? :-)

I guess that Saruman, using his voice, would be far better at it than
modern propagandists (which would be very scaring).

>> (6) This is a beautiful passage, and very descriptive of large
>> caverns with their stalagmites and stalactites.
>
> Yes, I like it too.

Tolkien had a marvellous talent for describing natural beauty. Many of
the descriptions of the lands are among the best passages in the books,
IMO.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men
are almost always bad men.
- Lord Acton, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887.

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 25, 2004, 7:46:35 AM8/25/04
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in <9XuWc.3417$k_6....@news.get2net.dk>,
Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> enriched us with:

>
> "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> skrev i en meddelelse
> news:10iin1k...@corp.supernews.com...
>>

<snip>

> [Nothing would grow on the mound where the Orcs were buried]
>
>> (10) Why? Is there something poisonous in the make-up of an Orc?
>
> This is a mythical world, where evil will leaves an aura of
> infertility. Just as the so-called "Eternal Jew", the one who refused
> to lend Jesus a hand on the latter's way to Golgata, wandered around
> forever as a punishment, and if he rested on a plough that had been
> left outside on Christmas night then the fields ploughed by it would
> not grow any crops. Or something. And just as the place where the
> Fell Beast was burnt on the Pelennor remained bare ever after, but
> Snowmane's mound remained green ever after.

I was about to mention that as well, and also the desolation of Smaug and
the wastelands before Mordor. Though the latter two were given a more
direct cause within the story, they do strike me as examples of the same:
evil destroying even the fertility of the land.

Story externally it is the mark of great evil: I think that in particular
Saruman's Uruk-hai might warrant that (especially if they were, as
suggested by Treebeard, an abominable blend of the races of Orcs and
Men).

Story internally we might imagine that these things are an abomination
against Yavanna causing her to withdraw her gifts from the land where
they are buried, as a visible mark and a reminder of this. We could also
imagine e.g. the Huorns making the land infertile, or that there was
indeed something poisonous in the make-up of both the Orcs and the Fell
Beast. These are, IMO, at least /possible/ explanations (though certainly
not the only ones), but I don't know of any writings from Tolkien that
might help decide between them.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer

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

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Aug 25, 2004, 3:55:41 AM8/25/04
to
Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> creatively typed:

>> They come finally to the Wizard's Vale. There is a vivid


>> description of what it *used* to look like.

> I adore this description! I've spent many mostly fruitless hours
> trying to memorize it.

I must be missing something here. Are you talking about the
passage "That was a sheltered valley ... pleasant, fertile land."?
Or some other? But IIRC all the other passages are linked to the
*current* situation.

> Question: what do people think the significance of the 'twofold
> meaning' of the name Orthanc may be?

I think it's a philological "play", like some others Tolkien put in.

> Why give this tower, of all of them, a name that means two things in
> two different languages?

I think /orşanc/ was a word that Tolkien was interested in "professionally".
Shippey mentions the phrase /orşhanc enta geweorc/ "the skillful work
of 'Giants'" -- which may be an accurate description for Orthanc:
"yet it seemed a thing not made by the craft of Men, but riven from the
bones of the earth in the ancient torment of the hills". Shippey
also mentions that "When Beowulf walks into Hrothgar's hall, the poet
says appreciatively that 'on him his armor shone, the cunning net
(/searo-net/) sewed by crafts (/orşhancum/) of the smith'". So
it is quite natural that Saru-man lives in Orthanc, isn't it? :-)

> If it matters, then why shrug it off as a possible coincidence?

And if Tolkien himself discovered that he had already invented an
elvish root *OROT for 'mountain' (and maybe another for 'fang' or
'tooth', which I cannot find in the Etymologies), why shouldn't
he add the aside "by design or chance"?

It's a sort of "donnish joke", if you want. Or a philological
observation how sometimes words come into beeing. Pick your choice :-)

- Dirk

Shanahan

unread,
Aug 25, 2004, 5:40:25 PM8/25/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> creatively typed:

> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> enriched us with:
>> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>>>
>>> (3) Another instance of Aragorn as healer. This always strikes
>>> me as a significant aspect of his personality. Why is it so
>>> important that he *be* a healer?
>>
>> I think it is connected to the "the king is a healer" myth,
>> that's mentioned more explicitly later on.
[...]

> Within the story I alse see Aragorn's healing powers as an
> aspect of his role as Estel -- hope (trust).

Nice insight. I had previously only connected it with his descent,
but your take enhances Aragorn's character in a symbolic way, which
I dig.

> Tolkien had a marvellous talent for describing natural beauty.

And un/natural horror: the passage about the desolation before the
Black Gate not only gives me the shivers ("'I feel sick,' said Sam.
Frodo said nothing."), it also informed my concern with man's
environmental madness from a very early age.

Ciaran S.
--
If a ragnarök would burn all the slums and gas-works,
and shabby garages, and long arc-lit suburbs,
it cd. for me burn all the works of art -
and I'd go back to trees.
- JRRT


Shanahan

unread,
Aug 25, 2004, 5:14:01 PM8/25/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> creatively typed:

> Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
>> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> creatively typed:
>
>>> They come finally to the Wizard's Vale. There is a vivid
>>> description of what it *used* to look like.
>
>> I adore this description! I've spent many mostly fruitless
>> hours trying to memorize it.
>
> I must be missing something here. Are you talking about the
> passage "That was a sheltered valley ... pleasant, fertile
> land."?
> Or some other? But IIRC all the other passages are linked to the
> *current* situation.

I mean the series of paragraphs which begins "Beneath the
mountain's arm within the Wizard's Vale..." and ends two pages
later with "...who came in secret and told no man what they saw."
Especially, for me, the sentence "But Saruman had slowly shaped it
to his shifting purposes..." is marvellous. Reread the pages, it's
worth it!

>> Question: what do people think the significance of the 'twofold
>> meaning' of the name Orthanc may be?
>
> I think it's a philological "play", like some others Tolkien put
> in.
>
>> Why give this tower, of all of them, a name that means two
>> things in two different languages?
>
> I think /orşanc/ was a word that Tolkien was interested in
> "professionally". Shippey mentions the phrase /orşhanc enta
> geweorc/ "the skillful work
> of 'Giants'" -- which may be an accurate description for Orthanc:
> "yet it seemed a thing not made by the craft of Men, but riven
> from the bones of the earth in the ancient torment of the
> hills".

Another wonderful phrase. I had forgotten that orşanc was a
genuine OE word. So T. was playing with it philologically. Cool.
Love to see a man enjoying his work! (seriously, not
sarcastically)

> Shippey also mentions that "When Beowulf walks into Hrothgar's
hall, the
> poet
> says appreciatively that 'on him his armor shone, the cunning net
> (/searo-net/) sewed by crafts (/orşhancum/) of the smith'". So
> it is quite natural that Saru-man lives in Orthanc, isn't it? :-)
>
>> If it matters, then why shrug it off as a possible coincidence?
>
> And if Tolkien himself discovered that he had already invented an
> elvish root *OROT for 'mountain' (and maybe another for 'fang' or
> 'tooth', which I cannot find in the Etymologies), why shouldn't
> he add the aside "by design or chance"?
>
> It's a sort of "donnish joke", if you want. Or a philological
> observation how sometimes words come into beeing. Pick your
> choice :-)

Love it. Thanks for reminding me!

Ciaran S.
--
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Aug 25, 2004, 6:57:26 PM8/25/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam>
>> "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> skrev

>> [Nothing would grow on the mound where the Orcs were buried]
>>
>>> (10) Why? Is there something poisonous in the make-up of an Orc?
>>
>> This is a mythical world, where evil will leaves an aura of
>> infertility. Just as the so-called "Eternal Jew", the one who refused
>> to lend Jesus a hand on the latter's way to Golgata, wandered around
>> forever as a punishment, and if he rested on a plough that had been
>> left outside on Christmas night then the fields ploughed by it would
>> not grow any crops. Or something. And just as the place where the
>> Fell Beast was burnt on the Pelennor remained bare ever after, but
>> Snowmane's mound remained green ever after.
>
> I was about to mention that as well, and also the desolation of Smaug
> and the wastelands before Mordor. Though the latter two were given a
> more direct cause within the story, they do strike me as examples of
> the same: evil destroying even the fertility of the land.

Don't forget the Gasping Dust of Anfauglith before Angband in 'The
Silmarillion', and also other burial mounds in 'The Silmarillion'. The
isle of Tol Sirion is described as being made clean again and Finrod
Felagund's grave remained inviolate until it foundered under destroying
seas. And we have the Hill of the Slain after the Fifth Battle, the Hill
of Tears where the grass grew long and green. And Tol Morwen, the Stone
of the Hapless was said to have not been defiled by Morgoth, and is said
to have survived the ruin of Beleriand as an island above the waters.
Fingolfin's tomb was also said to be inviolate until the Doom of
Gondolin drew near, and when that Doom indeed after befell, Glorfindel's
burial mound bore flowers amid the barren stones, again until the ruin
of Beleriand. And there is the story about how the Meneltarma still rose
above the waters after the Downfall of Numenor.

<snip>

Christopher

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

Glenn Holliday

unread,
Aug 24, 2004, 8:13:39 AM8/24/04
to
aelfwina wrote:
>
> Sorry for the spelling typos and the problem with spaces after the accents!
> I thought they were fixed. I just checked the document in my file, and they
> *are* fixed there, but the changes disappeared when I posted it. ???????
> Barbara
>

What program did you write it in? Newsgroups, by definition,
use plain vanilla 7-bit ASCII, which by definition does not
include the accented characters.

Many mail clients and news clients do support common definitions
of accents, so many posters to this newsgroup are able to write
accented Elvish, etc in their news clients. Perhaps you wrote
your accents in a word processor that encoded accents in ways
that your news client doesn't understand?

You might try writing or saving to a plain ASCII text file
to see how it looks there.

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

Message has been deleted

TeaLady (Mari C.)

unread,
Aug 25, 2004, 9:40:11 PM8/25/04
to
" Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote in
news:cgh69...@enews2.newsguy.com:

> When they see the Ents come out from the trees, they are
> described as being "like wading herons in their gait". Does
> anyone except me think that this means that Ents' knees bend
> backward?
>

I hadn't considered their legs bending backwards, interesting
visual.

I always took it to mean the over-all appearance of the stride
- herons have, to me, a very deliberate gait. One foot comes
up, advances, sets down. Next foot comes up, advances, sets
down. Each time the body shifts weight from the foot
remaining on the ground to the foot just set down before
lifting the rear foot up and continuing on. But I hever
considered which way the Ents' knees bent. Hmmm.

--
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

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Aug 26, 2004, 1:57:26 AM8/26/04
to
Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> creatively typed:
>> Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
>>> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> creatively typed:

>>>> They come finally to the Wizard's Vale. There is a vivid
>>>> description of what it *used* to look like.

> I mean the series of paragraphs which begins "Beneath the


> mountain's arm within the Wizard's Vale..." and ends two pages
> later with "...who came in secret and told no man what they saw."

Ah, that explains my confusion, because this passage doesn't
describe the Wizard's Vale as it was only, but also how it is now.

- Dirk

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Aug 26, 2004, 4:03:05 AM8/26/04
to
in <10iin1k...@corp.supernews.com>,
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> enriched us with:

>
> Here's this weeks summary. I hope it's all right.

Indeed it is, thanks ;-)

> Chapter of the Week: LoTR, Book 3, Chapter 8, "The Road to Isengard"

<snip>

> Éomer tells Gandalf he came "un-looked for." Gandalf reminds him that

> he said he would be there. Éomer responds "But you did not name the


> hour, not foretell the manner of your coming. (1)

I always thought that this was a bit disingenuous of Éomer -- it is as if
he didn't really trust that Gandalf would return.

> When Gandalf is given credit for the fortuitous appearance of the
> wood, he laughs and answers with riddles. He is also evasive about
> Saruman, revealing only that they go to parley, not to fight. (2)

<rearrange>


> (2) Why is Gandalf so secretive? At this point--other than spoiling
> the surprise, what difference would it have made to tell the others
> what had occurred at Orthanc?

I'm reminded of his conversation with Frodo while they wait for
midsummer's day in Minas Tirith:

" In those days the Companions of the Ring dwelt together in a
fair house with Gandalf, and they went to and fro as they
wished. And Frodo said to Gandalf: 'Do you know what this day
is that Aragorn speaks of? For we are happy here, and I don't
wish to go; but the days are running away, and Bilbo is
waiting; and the Shire is my home.'
'As for Bilbo,' said Gandalf, 'he is waiting for the same
day, and he knows what keeps you. And as for the passing of
the days, it is now only May and high summer is not yet in;
and though all things may seem changed, as if an age of the
world had gone by, yet to the trees and the grass it is less
than a year since you set out.'
'Pippin,' said Frodo, 'didn't you say that Gandalf was less
close than of old? He was weary of his labours then, I think.
Now he is recovering.'
And Gandalf said: 'Many folk like to know beforehand what is
to be set on the table; but those who have laboured to prepare
the feast like to keep their secret; for wonder makes the
words of praise louder. And Aragorn himself waits for a sign.'"

It may be only that he doesn't want to spoil the surprise.


<snip>

> It is immediately after this that Legolas and Gimli make their own
> pact together to share a visit to the Caverns and to Fangorn. Neither
> is particularly enthusiastic about the other's special place, yet
> each is eager to share his own wondrous experience with the other. (7)

<rearrange>


> (7) This bargain seems to me to be a significant point in their
> friendship. Just what *does* it signify?

I agree, and I think that the significant part is that it demonstrates
that they have now reached the point where they actually trust each
other -- even to the point of being taken to a place they would normally
dislike and distrust.

<snip>

> Gandalf and Théoden then have a discussion about children's tales


> and fair things passing out of Middle-earth. (8)

<rearrange>


> (8) A good place to dicusss Tolkien's feelings about fantastic tales
> being relegated to the nursery, as revealed in "On Fairy Stories".

Very well, then ;-)

"It is usually assumed that children are the natrual or the
specially appropriate audience for fairy-stories."

This Tolkien wrote in the first paragraph of the relevant section of OFS.
He continues to quickly make the assertion:
"Actually, the association of children and fairy-stories is an
accident of our domestic history. Fairy-stories have in the
modern lettered world been relegated to the 'nursery,' as
shabby or old-fashioned furniture is relegated to the play-
room, primarily because the adults do not want it, [...]"

Here we get the theme of fairy-stories being relegated to the nursery (to
the loss of the adults who are afraid to appear childish if the turn up
in the nursery <G>).

There is more with respect to fairy-stories and children/adults.

" I have said, perhaps, more than enough on this point. At
least it will be plain that in my opinion fairy-stories should
not be specially associated with children. They are associated
with them: naturally, because children are human and fairy-
stories are a natural human taste (though not necessarily a
universal one); accidentally, because fairy-stories are a
large part of the literary lumber that in latter-day Europe
has been stuffed away in attics; unnaturally, because of
erroneous sentiment about children, a sentiment that seems to
increase with the decline in children."
[...]
" Very well, then. If adults are to read fairy-stories as a
natural branch of literature-neither playing at being
children, nor pretending to be choosing for children, nor
being boys who would not grow up-what are the values and
functions of this kind? That is, I think, the last and most
important question. I have already hinted at some of my
answers. First of all: if written with art, the prime value of
fairy-stories will simply be that value which, as literature,
they share with other literary forms. But fairy-stories offer
also, in a peculiar degree or mode, these things: Fantasy,
Recovery, Escape, Consolation, all things of which children
have, as a rule, less need than older people. Most of them are
nowadays very commonly considered to be bad for anybody. I
will consider them briefly, and will begin with Fantasy."

One important thing that I think Tolkien misses out there is that
fairy-stories also offer an opportunity for a realism of motivations and
human interactions which would be too cruel to put in a tale with a more
realistic setting: it would hurt too much or a lot ofreaders would resent
the preaching inherent that kind of story. The opportunity for escape,
fantasy (also as an exercise of imagination and inventiveness) etc.
combined with elements of general human applicability is what I find
attractive in fairy-stories.

With respect to /The Hobbit/ as a fairy-tale intended for children,
Tolkien wrote in letter #163 (1956):
"It was unhappily really meant, as far as I was conscious, as a
'children's story', and as I had not learned sense then, and
my children were not quite old enough to correct me, it has
some of the sillinesses of manner caught unthinkingly from the
kind of stuff I had had served to me, as Chaucer may catch a
minstrel tag. I deeply regret them. So do intelligent
children."

And a little later in the same letter he takes up the thread from OFS
with respect to his own work:

" All the same, I was not prepared to write a 'sequel', in the
sense of another children's story. I had been thinking about
'Fairy Stories' and their relation to children - some of the
results I put into a lecture at St Andrews and eventually
enlarged and published in an Essay (among those listed in the
O.U.P. as Essays Presented to Charles Williams and now most
scurvily allowed to go out of print). As I had expressed the
view that the connexion in the modern mind between children
and 'fairy stories' is false and accidental, and spoils the
stories in themselves and for children, I wanted to try and
write one that was not addressed to children at all (as such);
also I wanted a large canvas."

Being a grown man in a group dedicated to fairy stories, and being in a
wider sense devoted to fantastic stories in general I naturally find
myself in agreement with Tolkien.

If we go back to the original forms of many of the folk-tales which have
ended up in collections for children -- the collection of the Grimm
brothers, for instance -- these, originally oral, tales are usually far
more grim (no pun intended) and would, by many, be thought unsuitable for
children, and children were certainly not the direct target audience for
these tales, which were told in the evenings when the family were sitting
with their various crafts. The children were in many ways accidental
audience.

Today we have a large collection of fairy stories intended specifically
for children, including both the bowdlerised versions of old tales in the
Grimm collection as well as e.g. /The Hobbit/, but we also see a growing
recognition that this literary format (possibly in a wider sense of
fantastic literature in general) is also appropriate for adults. The main
audience for many authors of fantastic literature is no longer adolescent
boys, but adults who tend to see beyond the surface and like to have to
think about the life-lessons available in the books (rather than being
beaten with the authors ethical views on every page). Authors such as
Feist and Gene Wolfe seems to me to fit this category (in particular
Feist's /Faerie Tale/).

It should be obvious that I find this tendency positive. The fantastic
literature has often been called 'escapist', and escapism is surely a
component, but the designation has had the sense of accusing this
literature of being 'only escapist' which is far from the truth, as the
wide-ranging debates in these group clearly evidence.


And back to the Road to Isengard ;-)

> As they ride towards Isengard, they note many depressing signs:
> carrion fowl flocking over the battlefield at the Fords of Isen,
> howling wolves, a dry stream-bed at the Fords. Yet to their

> amazement, they find that a mound has been raised for the dead --
> and Gandalf finally parts with a snippet of good news -- that less
> were lost than rumor had it, that survivors had raised the mound(9)


> and that some of their number had gone to guard Edoras.

<rearrange>


> (9) I had always assumed that Théodred was buried at the Ford, but
> after the discussion in the chapter before last, I see it is not so
> cut and dried. So, what's the consensus: is he buried at the Ford or
> not?

I think that he, at this point, must still lie in his mound on the eyot
in the middle of the ford, as he asked to do, "until Éomer comes":

" They stooped then to lift the body, and found that Théodred
still breathed; but he lived only long enough to speak his
last words: 'Let me lie here - to keep the Fords till Éomer
comes!'"

A little later we hear of how Grimbold and Elfhelm prepare for the next
battle:
" In the end Grimbold manned the western end of the Fords with
the greater part of his foot-soldiers [...]
He remained with the rest of his men, including what remained
to him of Théodred's cavalry, on the east bank. The eyot he
left bare.[8] [...]
[8] "It is told that he set up on stakes all about the eyot the
heads of the axemen that had been slain there, but above the
hasty mound of Théodred in the middle was set his banner.
'That will be defence enough,' he said. [Author's note.]"

This, I'd say, is clear indication that Théodred was put in a mound on
the eyot as the tale relates was his wish, "to keep the Fords till Éomer
came". In this chapter we reach the Fords together with Éomer, and
Théodred ought still lie in that mound. What later befell his body is
hard to tell. In the warrior-society of the Rohirrim it might have been
considered a suitable honour to raise for him there a proper mound -- as
Éomer comments in this chapter, "Here let them rest! And when their
spears have rotted and rusted, long still may their mound stand and guard
the Fords of Isen!" -- That might also apply to Théodred with whom he
apparently was on good terms. Théoden didn't have time to arrange for a
more proper burial of his son, and the question is whether Éomer would
choose to let Théodred lie at the Fords, or possibly remove him after the
defeat of Sauron. I would like to think that he let Théodred lie to guard
the Fords together with those of his men who fell there.

<snip>

> Even more are they astounded to see two small figures--which turn out
> to be Merry and Pippin, of course--taking their ease and smoking. The
> Rohirrim have no idea of who or what they are until it is explained.

[...]


> "The hobbits bowed low. 'So that is the King of Rohan!' said Pippin
> in an undertone. 'A fine old fellow. Very polite!'

I simply love the whole meeting between the two Hobbits, their old
friends and the Rohirrim. It's a nice piece of writing, full of humour
and displaying a fine sense (drawing, no doubt, on personal experiences)
for the kind of camaraderie that grows between people who share hardships
and dangers -- and probably more so between people who fight at each
other's sides. Here we get to see that Tolkien was fully capable of the
light-hearted banter that many find so attractive about David Eddings'
writings.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to
anger.
- Gildor Inglorion, 'LotR' (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Kristian Damm Jensen

unread,
Aug 26, 2004, 4:13:09 AM8/26/04
to
"TeaLady (Mari C.)" <spres...@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<Xns9550DC7...@130.133.1.4>...

> " Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote in
> news:cgh69...@enews2.newsguy.com:
>
> > When they see the Ents come out from the trees, they are
> > described as being "like wading herons in their gait". Does
> > anyone except me think that this means that Ents' knees bend
> > backward?
> >
>
> I hadn't considered their legs bending backwards, interesting
> visual.
>
> I always took it to mean the over-all appearance of the stride
> - herons have, to me, a very deliberate gait. One foot comes
> up, advances, sets down. Next foot comes up, advances, sets
> down. Each time the body shifts weight from the foot
> remaining on the ground to the foot just set down before
> lifting the rear foot up and continuing on. But I hever
> considered which way the Ents' knees bent. Hmmm.

And of course herons knees doesn't bend backwards either. The point is
that birds in general are walking on their toes, so what to us look
like a knee bending the wrong way is in fact an ankle. The same goes
for a lot of animals.

Regards,
Kristian

Jim Deutch

unread,
Aug 26, 2004, 8:24:52 AM8/26/04
to
On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 20:56:09 -0700, " Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com>
wrote:

>When they see the Ents come out from the trees, they are described
>as being "like wading herons in their gait". Does anyone except me
>think that this means that Ents' knees bend backward?

Elsewhere, their knees are described as barely bending at all (this is
yet another thing that PJ got wrong, but it may be excusable: though
it "sounds" good, it probably looks ridiculous!).

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
For some reason this is never our really unique adaptation, the
largest asses (in terms of body mass) ever produced by evolution.
Humans are truly the Lords of the Buttock. - James Nicoll

aelfwina

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Aug 26, 2004, 10:40:47 AM8/26/04
to

"Dirk Thierbach" <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote in message
news:2004082605572...@ID-7776.user.dfncis.de...

Well, I was thinking of how it is *now* as being torn down and under water!
LOL! We never really "see" it first hand.
Barbara
>
> - Dirk


John Jones

unread,
Aug 25, 2004, 3:45:35 PM8/25/04
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
news:v__Wc.23600$g4.4...@news2.nokia.com...

> Story internally we might imagine that these things are an abomination
> against Yavanna causing her to withdraw her gifts from the land where
> they are buried, as a visible mark and a reminder of this. We could also
> imagine e.g. the Huorns making the land infertile, or that there was
> indeed something poisonous in the make-up of both the Orcs and the Fell
> Beast. These are, IMO, at least /possible/ explanations (though certainly
> not the only ones), but I don't know of any writings from Tolkien that
> might help decide between them.
>

It is also a traditional motif. Near the ancient White Horse of Uffington
in
Wiltshire, there is an odd flat-topped hillock called Dragon Hill. There is
a bare patch of earth on the top, where legend says St. George slew the
dragon.
When I went there some years ago, I overheard a woman giving an alternative
explanation for the bare mark. She said that it was where witches were
burnt (although witches were not burned in England, only in Scotland, I
believe).

the softrat

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Aug 26, 2004, 5:27:11 PM8/26/04
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On 26 Aug 2004 01:13:09 -0700, da...@ofir.dk (Kristian Damm Jensen)
wrote:

>
>And of course herons knees doesn't bend backwards either. The point is
>that birds in general are walking on their toes, so what to us look
>like a knee bending the wrong way is in fact an ankle. The same goes
>for a lot of animals.
>
Thanks for clearing *that* farrago up. I thought that it was a bunch
of BS, but I wasn't sure. (I never saw a heron walk. They just stood
there. At the zoo and in the marshes of southern New York State.)

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
"If you see a bomb disposal technician running, try to keep up
with him." - U.S. Army ordnance manual

Christopher Kreuzer

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Aug 26, 2004, 8:59:32 PM8/26/04
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the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote:
> Thanks for clearing *that* farrago up. I thought that it was a bunch
> of BS, but I wasn't sure. (I never saw a heron walk. They just stood
> there. At the zoo and in the marshes of southern New York State.)

Didn't you know? Herons are afraid of rats...

And talking of Ents and backwards bending knees, I'm sure that one of
the films (maybe Bakshi) had Ents with backwards bending knees (or
forward bending ankles). Am I imagining this?

Jim Deutch

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Aug 27, 2004, 11:24:38 AM8/27/04
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On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 08:03:05 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>in <10iin1k...@corp.supernews.com>,
>aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> enriched us with:
>>
>> Here's this weeks summary. I hope it's all right.
>
>Indeed it is, thanks ;-)
>
>> Chapter of the Week: LoTR, Book 3, Chapter 8, "The Road to Isengard"
>
><snip>
>
>> Éomer tells Gandalf he came "un-looked for." Gandalf reminds him that
>> he said he would be there. Éomer responds "But you did not name the
>> hour, not foretell the manner of your coming. (1)
>
>I always thought that this was a bit disingenuous of Éomer -- it is as if
>he didn't really trust that Gandalf would return.

And why should he? Gandalf has been little seen in Rohan -- only to
borrow a horse and skip out. AFAIK, that's his only visit during
Eomer's lifetime. The sort of trust you're talking about doesn't come
simply because a guy has a nice beard and a staff...

>> It is immediately after this that Legolas and Gimli make their own
>> pact together to share a visit to the Caverns and to Fangorn. Neither
>> is particularly enthusiastic about the other's special place, yet
>> each is eager to share his own wondrous experience with the other. (7)
>
><rearrange>
>> (7) This bargain seems to me to be a significant point in their
>> friendship. Just what *does* it signify?
>
>I agree, and I think that the significant part is that it demonstrates
>that they have now reached the point where they actually trust each
>other -- even to the point of being taken to a place they would normally
>dislike and distrust.

Yep: after all their travels and mutual adventures, _now_ they really
trust each other. I'll bet that by this time, Eomer trusts Gandalf,
too.

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--

"We will keep fighting until the violence stops!"

Öjevind Lång

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Aug 28, 2004, 11:24:17 AM8/28/04
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"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> skrev i meddelandet
news:v__Wc.23600$g4.4...@news2.nokia.com...

[snip]

> Story externally it is the mark of great evil: I think that in particular
> Saruman's Uruk-hai might warrant that (especially if they were, as
> suggested by Treebeard, an abominable blend of the races of Orcs and
> Men).

The Uruk-hai were not Orc-men. It is fairly obvious that the "leering,
squint-eyed" people Merry and Pippin saw marching out of Isengard were not
the same kind of being as Uglúk and his troop.

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

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Aug 28, 2004, 11:34:04 AM8/28/04
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"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:UHvXc.1492$zR7.17...@news-text.cableinet.net...

[snip]

> And talking of Ents and backwards bending knees, I'm sure that one of
> the films (maybe Bakshi) had Ents with backwards bending knees (or
> forward bending ankles). Am I imagining this?

All I remember is that in the only scene in Bakshi's film where Treebeard
appears, he is really very crappily done (like something out of an ancient
Disney cartoon) and sheds leaves the way a mangy dog sheds hair.
Maybe I don't remember the film correcty (God knows I have worked had at
suppressing the memory of it), but to my recollection we never see Treebeard
again. He grabs Merry and Pippin and carries them off, seeming very annoyed
by something or other, and then that is simply left hanging - as so much
else in Bakshi's film.

Öjevind


aelfwina

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Aug 27, 2004, 8:14:54 PM8/27/04
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"Öjevind Lång" <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote in message
news:cuIXc.1263$LV3....@nntpserver.swip.net...

Exactly. I saw it myself a few weeks back on the Cartoon Network.
Treebeard looks like nothing so much as a walking carrot.
Barbara

>
> Öjevind
>
>


Jette Goldie

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Sep 3, 2004, 4:45:36 PM9/3/04
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"John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message
news:cgl8mj$gn1$1...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk...


Witches were hung in Scotland and their bodies burned.

Heretics were burned in both Scotland and England.


--
Jette
je...@blueyonder.co.uk

"Organised religion is a disease and the most dangerous symptom is that
those suffering from it believe that infecting others is a Good Thing"


Belba Grubb from Stock

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Sep 5, 2004, 12:21:17 PM9/5/04
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On Mon, 23 Aug 2004 02:19:36 -0500, "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net>
wrote:

> (2) Why is Gandalf so secretive? At this point--other than spoiling the
> surprise, what difference would it have made to tell the others what had
> occurred at Orthanc?

I agree that it wasn't part of his new "job parameters" to allow
others to depend on him even for news. The Song was still unfolding,
and he feared to say too much lest he obstruct the music somehow.

And certainly he was working to play down his abilities; Eomer had
just say he was "mighty in wizardry," and so Gandalf focused on the
ordinary things that had been done and described his own role as that
of giving good counsel in peril and having a very speedy horse.

Too, wouldn't it have increased the fear of the Riders to know that
these Huorns and Ents, whom they had to pass and who eventually would
pass them further up the road, had been able to destroy Isengard?
Wouldn't the mortal riders hold up much better during these encounters
with the unknown if they didn't know exactly what it was they were
facing or going into? Huorns were skittish, and there were few Ents
herding them as most Ents were still at Isengard; if the Riders
panicked, what might the Huorns do? Notice how sharply Gandalf called
Legolas back before the Elf rode into the forest. Maybe Gandalf was
literally applying the old saw here: "what you don't know can't hurt
you."

And there is another, more strategic reason for it -- they were
talking out in the open in full hearing of the Riders and all the
people of Westfold and Dunlendings and who knew what spies might be
lurking there (probably not too many after the battle) or on the road
(more likely): it was imperative that Sauron not know of Saruman's
fall for as long as possible, and so Gandalf was playing his cards
extremely close to the chest.

> (5) "The morning may bring new counsel" Did he have an idea that the
>Huorns would take care of the disposal?

He probably did know or at least guessed something would happen along
those lines.

> (7) This bargain seems to me to be a significant point in their
>friendship. Just what *does* it signify?

As mentioned, they have finally reached a point in their friendship
where they can trust each other enough to go to places each would
normally avoid. But there is also something sad to it -- the dominion
of Men is coming, so what do Elf and Dwarf have to fight about any
more? Legolas has grown beyond his original role as the Prince of
Mirkwood, and Gimli is no longer simply Gloin's son from Erebor. It's
a little like a final tour before the final parting of all they once
held dear.

> (8) A good place to dicusss Tolkien's feelings about fantastic tales being
> relegated to the nursery, as revealed in "On Fairy Stories".

What Troels said so well (g).

The latter part of the talk between Theoden and Gandalf is worth
consideration, too. Wonder has been awakened: "And now the songs
have come down among us out of strange places, and walk visible under
the Sun." Yet even wonder cannot last. Gandalf reminds Theoden that
the life of even those things he has deemed legendary is now
threatened, and Theoden remarks that "may it not so end that much that
was fair and wonderful shall pass for ever out of Middle-earth."
Gandalf says it may and that "The evil of Sauron cannot be wholly
cured, nor made as if it had not been. But to such days we are
doomed. Let us now go on with the journey we have begun."

There is in this, on a simple level, the sadness of growing up and
letting of "much that was fair and wonderful." It doesn't take much
digging to also see here the effects of The Fall, in terms of
Christian theology. Yet the last sentence is so powerful, given the
recognition of loss and ever-present evil. Why continue with the
journey in such a situation?

JRRT answers that in the last paragraph of the essay"On
Fairy-stories":

Redeemed Man is still man. Story, fantasy, still go on, and
should go on. The Evangelium has not abrogated legends; it has
hallowed them, especially the "happy ending." The Christian
has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope,
and die; but he may now perceive that all his bents and
faculties have a purpose, which can be redeemed. So great is
the bounty with which he has been treated that he may now,
perhaps, fairly dare to guess that in Fantasy he may actually
assist in the effoliation and multiple enrichment of creation.
All tales may come true; and yet, at the last, redeemed, they
may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them as
Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that
we know.

I think these two sections of writing spring from the same source
somewhere deep in the author. How story-internally this encouragement
by Gandalf may be related to his faith in a happy ending, however, is
less clear.

> (12) Aragorn at this point says nothing; had he perhaps gleaned enough
>from Gandalf's meager hints to have guessed they'd find the hobbits there? Or
>can anyone think of another reason for his silence?

He, out of all the present members of the Fellowship, save Gandalf, is
keenly aware that they are on Saruman's "turf," and that the wizard
must now be studying them closely -- Gandalf, the King of Rohan,
Eomer, and the riders. Why should the Heir of Isildur want to draw
Saruman's attention to himself just now?

> --Is it just me, or does anyone else find Gandalf excessively irritating
>in this chapter? Is there a story internal reason he could not have just
>*said* "Relax, Saruman's no longer a threat, and by the way our two missing
>hobbits are there and are just fine." ?

See above. But Gandalf the White is not so lovable here and would be
described as irritating if Theoden were more haughty, though not
nearly as irritating as he will be to Denethor once he gets to Minas
Tirith. But more on that later.

> FAVORITE QUOTE:
>
> "These hobbits will sit on the edge of ruin and discuss the pleasures of
>the
> table, or the small doings of their fathers, grandfathers, and
> great-grandfathers, and remoter cousins to the ninth degree, if you
> encourage them with undue patience."

I also liked Pippin's "So that is the King of Rohan! A fine old
fellow. Very polite."

Barb

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Sep 5, 2004, 12:21:56 PM9/5/04
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On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 09:40:47 -0500, "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net>
wrote:
<snip>

>Well, I was thinking of how it is *now* as being torn down and under water!
>LOL! We never really "see" it first hand.
>Barbara

Except with the "sight" of dream, very early in the story, but even
then our view of it is hidden in darkness and only the major features
stand out:

In the dead night, Frodo lay in a dream without light. Then
he saw the young moon rising; under its thin light there
loomed before him a black wall of rock, pierced by a dark arch
like a great gate. It seemed to Frodo that he was lifted up,
and passing over he saw that the rock-wall was a circle of
hills, and that within it was a plain, and in the midst of the
plain stood a pinnacle of stone, like a fast tower but not
made by hands.
-- "In The House of Tom Bombadil"

I wonder if that is how JRRT first imagined Orthanc.


Barb

Igenlode Wordsmith

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Sep 15, 2004, 7:48:20 PM9/15/04
to
On 23 Aug 2004 aelfwina wrote:

> Chapter of the Week: LoTR, Book 3, Chapter 8, "The Road to Isengard"
>

[snip]

> The chapter opens with the joyful realization by our heroes that against all
> odds, they have actually *won* the battle of Helm's Deep.

If Erkenbrand turns the tide by bringing 'a thousand men on foot' as
reinforcements (albeit as a surprise flank attack), how many Riders did
Theoden bring to Helm's Deep? (Gamling estimates that there are already
"a thousand [boys and old men] fit to fight on foot" manning the Dike
before the King arrives...)

[snip]

> The Riders are buried in two mounds, except for Háma, who rated a separate
> grave to himself.

Why the 'East Dales' and 'Westfold' distinction here, when so far as we
know no such division was made in the burial mounds for Eomer's men at
the eaves of Fangorn, or for Theodred's men at the Fords of Isen?
(Could it be something to do with those who were defending their homes
as distinct from those with whom Theoden rides in as reinforcements, who
were simply doing their duty...?)

[snip]


> It is immediately after this that Legolas and Gimli make their own pact
> together to share a visit to the Caverns and to Fangorn. Neither is
> particularly enthusiastic about the other's special place, yet each is eager
> to share his own wondrous experience with the other. (7)

I wonder why Tolkien, who obviously loves trees, contrives to make
Fangorn sound so unattractive here compared to Gimli's caves? It is
easy to understand the Dwarf's enthusiasm, but Legolas' wonderful wood
is described as "great aisles... stretching away into impenetrable
shadows... the creaking and groaning of boughs, and far cries, and a
rumour of wordless voices, murmuring angrily", and the trees are "grey
and menacing", with "long sweeping boughs... like searching fingers"
and "roots... like the limbs of strange monsters", and "dark caverns
opened beneath them". Even Legolas manages nothing more eloquent in
praise than "these are the *strangest* trees that ever I saw", where
Gimli speaks of "loveliness" and "wonder". The wood of Huorns sounds
for all the world like Mirkwood - which I suppose might explain the
Wood-Elf's affection for it, but leaves the reader feeling that Gimli
has very much the worst of the bargain!

When Gandalf refers to "the Glittering Caves of Aglarond", is that the
actual original [Elvish?] name for Helm's Deep, or is he simply
alluding to a well-known First Age reference; as one might say of an
archer "not if Beleg Strongbow himself were to make the shot"?
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Dirk Thierbach

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Sep 17, 2004, 2:42:44 AM9/17/04
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Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:
> When Gandalf refers to "the Glittering Caves of Aglarond", is that the
> actual original [Elvish?] name for Helm's Deep, or is he simply
> alluding to a well-known First Age reference;

"Aglarond" just means "Glittering Cave", from *rondo "vaulted hall, cave"
and *akla-r "radiant, glorious".

Helm's Deep is the name for the gorge, not for the caves themselves.

- Dirk


Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 26, 2004, 3:26:01 PM9/26/04
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Igenlode Wordsmith wrote:
> On 23 Aug 2004 aelfwina wrote:

>> The Riders are buried in two mounds, except for Háma, who rated a
>> separate grave to himself.
>
> Why the 'East Dales' and 'Westfold' distinction here, when so far as
> we know no such division was made in the burial mounds for Eomer's
> men at the eaves of Fangorn, or for Theodred's men at the Fords of
> Isen?

I would guess either that this distinction is only made in big battles
where enough men die to warrant more than one mound (and such grouping
is not uncommon when burying war dead), or that Eomer and Theodred's
companies were all from the same area.

> [snip]
>> It is immediately after this that Legolas and Gimli make their own
>> pact together to share a visit to the Caverns and to Fangorn.
>> Neither is particularly enthusiastic about the other's special
>> place, yet each is eager to share his own wondrous experience with
>> the other. (7)
>
> I wonder why Tolkien, who obviously loves trees, contrives to make
> Fangorn sound so unattractive here compared to Gimli's caves?

<snip>

I agree that this is strange. I would guess that it is just part of
making the Huorns appear terrifying (they've just eaten an army of
orcs), and part of the enduring mystery and ancientry of Fangorn.

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