Chapter of the Week: LotR Book 2, Chapter 9 The Great River

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Archie

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Jun 14, 2004, 9:49:20 AM6/14/04
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Chapter of the Week 9, Bk II. "The Great River"
"The Great River"

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Contents:
0.Preface
1.Tolkien goes boating
2.First impression from the regatta
3.Synopsis
4.On the landscape: from the Gladden to the Emyn Muil
5.On time in the Elf-land of Lorien
6.On bows
7.Trotter becomes Aragorn
7.Boromir's temptation
8.Eagles vs. hideous flying beasts
9.The Gate of Argonath
10.Miscellaneous remarks


0.Preface
Due to slightly unforeseen (but generally beneficial)
developments in the local labour market I have been cut
off from the AFT/RABT discussions for 3 long months; I am
quite reluctant to google the preceding CotW threads lest
my hard drive overflows, but I hope that this piece will
need few if any flashbacks to them.
It is my duty and pleasure to discuss chapter 9, "The
Great River", but before plunging into the waters of
Anduin I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to
Christopher Tolkien for publishing the UT and the volumes
of HoME, and to all AFT/RABT posters who would wait just
a moment before throwing Molotoff cocktails onto this
review/introduction.

1.Tolkien goes boating
It is desirable that this chapter be discussed with its
HoME-based textual history in mind. JRRT had drafted the
outline of the Breaking of the Fellowship before sitting
down to sketch the Great River; this is understandable
since the former is indeed much more important to the
overall plot and the moral ramifications of the story
than the details of the voyage down the Anduin. His pen
dashed away from the River and followed Frodo, Sam and
Gollum to the borders of the Dark Land while Frodo was
betrayed twice: first by Boromir, then by Gollum.
So the destination of the voyage was fixed, and the Great
River had to be the transition between dramatic scenes
and foreshadowing of the first betrayal (and Boromir's
temptation). It came out to be much more than that.

2.First impression from the regatta
There are two texts that I'd like to compare: the first
draft of the "Scattering of the Company" and the final
FotR one. It is remarkable to see at a glance how much of
the first draft survived in terms of syntactic structure
and wording; it is no less interesting to witness the
writer at work, changing words, swapping them, adding
little adverbs and compressing ideas and shades of ideas
into separate clauses.
The geographic and personal names are shuffled around and
changed quite noticeably, distances are stretched and the
map is altered; interested readers may be referred to the
HoME itself for further details, but by far the most
significant change from the first draft to the final one
is the coming of Aragorn in Trotter's place (see section
7.Trotter becomes Aragorn).

3.Synopsis
/*Ideas not present in the first draft are bracketed by
{curly braces}.*/
The Fellowship drifts down Anduin (see section 4.On the
landscape: from the Gladden to the Emyn Muil). Aragorn
fears delay and hastens travellers {with due regard to
their physical condition}. After two days they come in
sight of the Brown Lands on the east bank {and even
Aragorn doesn't know why the lands are that desolate and
lifeless}. {Once they see black swans in the sky. Aragorn
shows off his navigator's skills.} Pippin notices strange
gleam in Boromir's eyes. {Sam tells Frodo about his
suspicions of a certain Gollum following them only to
have his suspicions confirmed by Frodo and Aragorn.}
Aragorn urges the company to {keep watch and} speed
ahead, travelling by night to avoid detection. {Sam sees
a new Moon on the 7th day. Legolas spots an eagle in the
sky (see section 9.Eagles vs. hideous flying beasts).}
The boats enter the area of the Emyn Muil in the dark.
{Aragorn is uncertain whether they are close to the
rapids and assigns the watchman's duty to Sam.} At
noticing the rapids of Sarn Gebir Aragorn turns back; the
Fellowship is attacked by orcs from the east bank.
Despite being caught between the stream and the hail of
arrows, the company manages to escape {to the west bank}.
A great winged creature approaches them from the south,
but Legolas shoots it down, dismaying the orcs. Frodo has
the symptoms of a Nazgul syndrome; Boromir is too curious
about it.
Sam remarks that a whole month has passed since their
coming to Lorien (see section 5.On time in the Elf-land
of Lorien). Frodo is foolish enough to try to show off
his knowledge of wise matters by revealing the
whereabouts of one of the Elven Rings. Aragorn reprimands
him.
When the dawn breaks, the company sees dense fog on the
rapids and discusses the way to the Emyn Muil. Boromir
suggests going through Rohan to Minas Tirith; Aragorn
objects to this, offering instead taking the old portage
way round Sarn Gebir and then rowing down to climb upon
the Amon Hen. Boromir holds out till he gets to know that
Frodo would follow Aragorn... and suddenly changes his
mind. The Fellowship follows the trail found by Aragorn
and Legolas and toils to carry boats and luggage to the
other end of the trail. The next day they find themselves
speeding down a ravine with rocky walls until they descry
at a distance the mighty Pillars of Argonath. Everybody
is awed; everybody is frightened by the gigantic figures of the
Kings guarding the Gate - but Aragorn. He is
coming back to his kingdom from exile (see section
7.Trotter becomes Aragorn). Yet he is torn between duty
of helping Frodo and desire to come to Minas Tirith. The
boats enter the pale Nen Hithoel and moor at Path Galen
on the west bank. The Fellowship stands now on the
crossroads and the hour of decision is nigh.

4.On the landscape: from the Gladden to the Emyn Muil
One of my strongest feelings from the book. The forests
of the middle course of the Great River, the immense vast
spaces of the Brown Lands, the irises of the Gladden, the
sorrowful reeds and meadows of the field of Celebrant,
the cragged sides of the Emyn Muil and above all, the
area of Nen Hithoel, Argonath and the Rauros Falls, are
extremely vividly visualised in my mind, being places I'd
like to see most of all in M-E.
Questions:
1. Why doesn't Tolkien tell us when the company passes
the Gladden Fields?
2. What is the origin of the Brown Lands (they are more
like volcanic badlands - but time heals even those)? Why
is Sauron's malice there so enduring after 3000+ years?
3. Aragorn has little to say about the history of Rohan
on the way down to the Emyn Muil. I hypothesize it is a
remnant from the times there was not much known about
Rohan in Tolkien's imagination. Please tell me this is
not true - for any story-internal reasons.

5.On time in the Elf-land of Lorien
HoME lays out three successive timing schemes of the
journey of the Fellowship conceived by Tolkien (there are
several minor variations of the 1st and the 2nd):
I II FotR
Departure from Rivendell 24/XI 25/XII 25/XI
Arrival to Eregion 6/XII 6/I 8/I
Caradras (snow-storm) 9/XII 9/I 11/I
Entrance into Moria 11/XII 11/I 13/I
Escape from Moria 13/XII 13/I 15/I
Crossing the Silverlode 14/XII 14/I 16/I
Departure from Lorien 15/XII 15/I 16/II
Arrival at Tol Brandir/ 25/XII 25/I 25/II
Parth Galen
Flight of Frodo 26/XII 26/I 26/II

In the first two schemes the "outer world" time-span
spent in Lorien is 1 night, in the final one - a full
month. It is obvious that the final scheme is much less
magical. Why?
/* Of course, we know from trad.folk tales, Lord
Dunsany's 'KoE's D.' and JRRT's own 'On Fairy Stories'
that the Elves' time differs from our own.*/

-
Legolas stirred in his boat. "Nay, time does not tarry
ever," he said; "but change and growth is not in all
things and places alike. For the Elves the world moves,
and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift,
because they themselves change little, and all else ?eets
by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not
count the running years, not for themselves. The passing
seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long
stream. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an
end at last."
-
Legolas' remark is one of the most philosophical in the
whole LotR (rivalled only by his conversation with Gimli
in Minas Tirith about the deeds of men.) In other
versions his words are partly taken by Frodo.

6.On bows
a) Aragorn tells the hobbits that the orc-bows will
easily shoot across the river. How are orc-bows different
from Mannish ones (made from yew, presumably)? Are they
better or worse?
b) Tolkien rejected the idea of Legolas shooting from the
boat. Maybe he realised the inherent difficulties of
marksmanship in the dark from a rocking platform.

7.Trotter becomes Aragorn
This passage in the final text is forceful and quite
impressive:
"Fear not!" said a strange voice behind him. Frodo turned
and saw Strider, and yet not Strider; for the weatherworn
Ranger was no longer there. In the stern sat Aragorn son
of Arathorn, proud and erect, guiding the boat with
skilful strokes; his hood was cast back, and his dark
hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes: a
king returning from exile to his own land.
"Fear not!" he said. "Long have I desired to look upon
the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, my sires of old.
Under their shadow Elessar, the Elfstone son of Arathorn
of the House of Valandil Isildur's son heir of Elendil,
has nought to dread!"
-
Tolkien starts writing the passage with Trotter and, one
emendation after another, Trotter's background changes
profoundly: from Elfstone son of Elfhelm he becomes
Eldamir son of Eldakar son of Valandil, then turning into
Aragorn son of Arathorn and accepting the kingly name of
Elessar (the Elfstone). Thus Aragorn's genealogy deepens,
now going back for several thousand years.

8.Boromir's temptation
It is painted by 3 short sketches: Boromir bites nails
and peers at Frodo's boat; Boromir is too curious about
Frodo's feelings; Boromir suddenly changing his mind when
Frodo follows Aragorn. This is quite enough for Sam to
become suspicious, and more than enough for a reader. Or
is it not? I'd like everyone who remembers his/her first
reading of the FotR to say honestly whether these pieces
aroused any suspicions. Let's see how it works out.
A question: does Boromir's behaviour influence Aragorn's
decision to double night watches?

9.Eagles vs. hideous flying beasts
1. IIRC Legolas sees an eagle on January 24. What is that
eagle doing there?
2. Tactics of air support in Sauron's army aren't
perfect. Why is the Nazgul that reckless to fly in range
of elven bows? After all, he has already experienced the
level of defences around the Bearer at the Ford across
the Bruinen.

10.The Gate of Argonath
1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
wind erosion. Is it plausible?
2. Mt.Rushmore, the Pillars of Argonath and the Sphynx
- who borrowed from whom :-)? As an addition: there are
gigantic statues of Stalin (torn down) and Lenin (still
standing) near Moscow, where >65 years ago a Moskva-Volga
channel was built by prisoners.
3. Why does the Wilderland end there? (silly, but
interesting)

11.Miscellaneous remarks
1. ":new Moon as thin as a nail-paring" - Samwise is
downright poetic, isn't he?
2. Boromir bites nails - what is that? Tolkien's deep
psychological insight or an out-of-character remark?
3. The next chapter's discussion is going to treat the
subject of the Hills of Sight and Hearing in depth (How
do they differ? Where do the powers of hearing and sight
come from? How is the power of the Ring enhanced by the
power of the hills?)
4. Gimli doesn't boast before Boromir as it may seem
upon the first reading; the Dwarf sounds insulted when
Boromir puts him into the same group with the hobbits and
doubts his strength. Is my impression correct? Boromir,
OTOH, is poking fun at "our sturdy dwarf" - in other
circumstances such jokes could lead to a severe rift in
the Fellowship.
5. Gollum re-appears. How does he know that he should
be waiting at the Gore and not at other borders of
Lorien? Is it 'chance as you call it in M-E' or smth.
else?
6. The swans are black. Why? Are they from Oz? Is it
another artefact of Tolkien's limited knowledge of the
natural sciences? (I admit mine is much more limited).

Archie

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Jun 14, 2004, 12:57:13 PM6/14/04
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Excellent summary, Archie... just 2 points.

In rec.arts.books.tolkien Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
> 1. Why doesn't Tolkien tell us when the company passes
> the Gladden Fields?

IDHTBIFOM, but ISTR that, in the final version at least,
the Gladden Fields are north of Lorien. The Fellowship never
passes them.

> 6. The swans are black. Why? Are they from Oz? Is it
> another artefact of Tolkien's limited knowledge of the
> natural sciences? (I admit mine is much more limited).

There is a species of swan which is black with red beaks.
I believe it is a Eurasian or African species. I recall seeing
two domesticated black swans in the Reifel waterfowl refuge in
Ladner, BC sometime in the 1970s. Maybe Tolkien saw or heard of
domesticated black swans at some point too.

--Jamie. (nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita)
andrews .uwo } Merge these two lines to obtain my e-mail address.
@csd .ca } (Unsolicited "bulk" e-mail costs everyone.)

Archie

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Jun 14, 2004, 2:12:15 PM6/14/04
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Jamie Andrews wrote:

>> 1. Why doesn't Tolkien tell us when the company passes
>> the Gladden Fields?

> IDHTBIFOM, but ISTR that, in the final version at least,
> the Gladden Fields are north of Lorien. The Fellowship never
> passes them.

Jamie (and other AFT/RABT posters), please forgive me: a moment of
forgetfulness - and out pops a silly remark that could have been
eliminated by a simple look on the map. The Gladden Fields _are_ to the
North of Lorien in the FotR and the UT, halfway between L. and the ford
(or the destroyed old bridge). /*Otherwise the Hobbits would not have
become mythical creatures in Rohan etc.*/



>> 6. The swans are black. Why? Are they from Oz? Is it
>> another artefact of Tolkien's limited knowledge of the
>> natural sciences? (I admit mine is much more limited).

> There is a species of swan which is black with red beaks.
> I believe it is a Eurasian or African species.

<g>...What is its air speed?</g>


> I recall seeing
> two domesticated black swans in the Reifel waterfowl refuge in
> Ladner, BC sometime in the 1970s. Maybe Tolkien saw or heard of
> domesticated black swans at some point too.

My shaky knowledge of the phenomenon and origin of black swans comes from
a refutation of "hunter's stories" in an old book for children (i.e.
black swans live in Australia, commonly observed black swans are white
but seen a contre jour they look black :-). Holding in my hand an equally
old book "Nature of the USSR" (L.S.Berg, Moscow, Geografgiz, 1955, 3rd
ed.), I can find only 1 place where he mentions a member of Cygnidae
(sp?) (Cygnus bewicki, a tundra swan), and they are not black.

A Tolkien's black swan should be of African or Eurasian origin to fit
into ME better (unless we have a potato-like story).

Archie

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 14, 2004, 8:15:43 PM6/14/04
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Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:

<great summary and discussion>

Very interesting way of approaching this chapter!

> 1.Tolkien goes boating
> 2.First impression from the regatta

LOL!

<btw, you missed out some chapters from the contents...>

<snip>

> It is my duty and pleasure to discuss chapter 9, "The
> Great River", but before plunging into the waters of
> Anduin I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to
> Christopher Tolkien for publishing the UT and the volumes
> of HoME, and to all AFT/RABT posters who would wait just
> a moment before throwing Molotoff cocktails onto this
> review/introduction.

Nice! No Molotov cocktails from me, just complete agreement with your
fulsome praise of Christopher Tolkien.

[on the drafts]

> It is remarkable to see at a glance how much of
> the first draft survived in terms of syntactic structure
> and wording; it is no less interesting to witness the
> writer at work, changing words, swapping them, adding
> little adverbs and compressing ideas and shades of ideas
> into separate clauses.

Hmm. This could inspire me to read the LotR HoME volumes.
Some people have said they are boring.
Your description is intriguing though.

> 3.Synopsis

<snip>

> Sam remarks that a whole month has passed since their
> coming to Lorien (see section 5.On time in the Elf-land
> of Lorien). Frodo is foolish enough to try to show off
> his knowledge of wise matters by revealing the whereabouts
> of one of the Elven Rings. Aragorn reprimands him.

Is Frodo really showing off? Surely he is caught up in the magic of
Legolas's comments about time. And who can blame him!

<snip>

> The next day they find themselves
> speeding down a ravine with rocky walls until they descry
> at a distance the mighty Pillars of Argonath. Everybody
> is awed; everybody is frightened by the gigantic figures of the
> Kings guarding the Gate - but Aragorn.

I would say some are awed, some frightened. Not all frightened. Boromir
bows his head, but I wouldn't say he is frightened. And Sam's fright
seems to be more to do with the fast flowing water and dark cliffs.

> He is
> coming back to his kingdom from exile (see section
> 7.Trotter becomes Aragorn). Yet he is torn between duty
> of helping Frodo and desire to come to Minas Tirith.

I strongly suspect that this section of the text inspired the Jackson
film-Aragorn. Specifically the "exile" comment. Pity they mangled their
interpretation of what exile means in this context.

> The Fellowship stands now on the
> crossroads and the hour of decision is nigh.

Indeed!

> 4.On the landscape: from the Gladden to the Emyn Muil

<snip>

> 2. What is the origin of the Brown Lands (they are more
> like volcanic badlands - but time heals even those)? Why
> is Sauron's malice there so enduring after 3000+ years?

They were the gardens of the Entwives. War had passed over it in the
time of the war between Sauron and the Men of the Sea (as said in the
'Treebeard' chapter). 3000 years is bit too long, I agree, but volcanic
destruction can endure for a long time.

> 3. Aragorn has little to say about the history of Rohan
> on the way down to the Emyn Muil. I hypothesize it is a
> remnant from the times there was not much known about
> Rohan in Tolkien's imagination. Please tell me this is
> not true - for any story-internal reasons.

He wanted to write about Rohan later?

> 5.On time in the Elf-land of Lorien

> /* Of course, we know from trad.folk tales, Lord


> Dunsany's 'KoE's D.' and JRRT's own 'On Fairy Stories'
> that the Elves' time differs from our own.*/

But see my comments below.

> -
> Legolas stirred in his boat. "Nay, time does not tarry
> ever," he said; "but change and growth is not in all
> things and places alike. For the Elves the world moves,
> and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift,
> because they themselves change little, and all else ?eets
> by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not
> count the running years, not for themselves. The passing
> seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long
> stream. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an
> end at last."
> -

There was no way I was going to snip that! :-)

> Legolas' remark is one of the most philosophical in the
> whole LotR (rivalled only by his conversation with Gimli
> in Minas Tirith about the deeds of men.) In other
> versions his words are partly taken by Frodo.

But you have to balance this view, which leads many people to believe
that time actually flowed differently in Lorien, with Aragorn's
response:

"...in that land you lost your count. There time flowed swiftly by us,
as for the Elves."

In other words, the same amount of time was experienced, but the
subjective rate of passage of time was different.

<snip>

> 7.Trotter becomes Aragorn

<snip>

> "Fear not!" he said. "Long have I desired to look upon
> the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, my sires of old.
> Under their shadow Elessar, the Elfstone son of Arathorn
> of the House of Valandil Isildur's son heir of Elendil,
> has nought to dread!"
>

> Tolkien starts writing the passage with Trotter and, one
> emendation after another, Trotter's background changes
> profoundly: from Elfstone son of Elfhelm he becomes
> Eldamir son of Eldakar son of Valandil, then turning into
> Aragorn son of Arathorn and accepting the kingly name of
> Elessar (the Elfstone). Thus Aragorn's genealogy deepens,
> now going back for several thousand years.

There was a recent discussion here about Aragorn's titles, and how they
change throughout the book. I think these two links are the most
relevant:

http://www.google.com/groups?selm=3b26e128.0406012202.7d0849de%40posting.google.com&output=gplain

http://www.google.com/groups?selm=aVqvc.2484%24ng.26376366%40news-text.cableinet.net&output=gplain

<snip>

> 9.Eagles vs. hideous flying beasts
> 1. IIRC Legolas sees an eagle on January 24. What is that
> eagle doing there?

I always thought it was sent out by Gandalf to gather news.

> 10.The Gate of Argonath
> 1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> wind erosion. Is it plausible?

The Egyptian pyramids have lasted over 4000 years. The Sphinx was doing
OK too, until Napoleon's army started taking pot-shots at it...

> 3. Why does the Wilderland end there?

Because it was the ancient border of Gondor? Everything south of that
point was tributary to Gondor. Everything north was, well, Wilderland!
Remember Elrond's admonishment to Boromir in Rivendell about not blowing
his horn again until stood "once more upon the borders of [his] land and
dire need is upon [him]."

> 11.Miscellaneous remarks
> 1. ":new Moon as thin as a nail-paring" - Samwise is
> downright poetic, isn't he?

That is one thing that has been a constant refrain in these CotW
discussions. "Ooh. Look. Sam is very insightful/poetic/thoughtful." ;-)

> 5. Gollum re-appears. How does he know that he should
> be waiting at the Gore and not at other borders of
> Lorien? Is it 'chance as you call it in M-E' or smth.
> else?

Maybe the lure of the Ring helped?

Christopher

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 14, 2004, 8:22:00 PM6/14/04
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

> Archie wrote:
> 6. The swans are black. Why? Are they from Oz? Is it
>> another artefact of Tolkien's limited knowledge of the
>> natural sciences? (I admit mine is much more limited).
>
> There is a species of swan which is black with red beaks.
> I believe it is a Eurasian or African species. I recall seeing
> two domesticated black swans in the Reifel waterfowl refuge in
> Ladner, BC sometime in the 1970s. Maybe Tolkien saw or heard of
> domesticated black swans at some point too.

Actually, it is an Australian/NZ swan species:

http://www.nzbirds.com/BlackSwan.html

http://www.scz.org/animals/s/bswan.html

Google images gets some nice pics as well.

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Jun 14, 2004, 9:14:36 PM6/14/04
to
On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 17:49:20 +0400, Archie
<no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:

> 8.Boromir's temptation
>It is painted by 3 short sketches: Boromir bites nails
>and peers at Frodo's boat; Boromir is too curious about
>Frodo's feelings; Boromir suddenly changing his mind when
>Frodo follows Aragorn. This is quite enough for Sam to
>become suspicious, and more than enough for a reader. Or
>is it not? I'd like everyone who remembers his/her first
>reading of the FotR to say honestly whether these pieces
>aroused any suspicions.

Not so much suspicion as a realization that something was wrong with
Boromir -- it never dawned on me that he was thinking about the Ring
until he confronted Frodo later on. I think this was because the
hints given to us about Boromir's realizing it was the Ring he wanted
in Lorien really weren't clear enough to lay the foundation. It felt
a little artificial. He might have worked Boromir's growing interest
in the Ring a bit more.

Re: time --

>Legolas stirred in his boat. "Nay, time does not tarry
>ever," he said; "but change and growth is not in all
>things and places alike. For the Elves the world moves,
>and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift,
>because they themselves change little, and all else ?eets
>by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not
>count the running years, not for themselves. The passing
>seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long
>stream. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an
>end at last."

I can't help wishing wickedly that Boromir had given one of his stage
whispers at this point: "I thought our time in the Golden Wood would
NEVER end."

And then Aragorn reaches over with his hand and whacks Boromir up side
the head. (g)



> 10.The Gate of Argonath
>1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> wind erosion. Is it plausible?

Depends on the type of stone. There is a lot of geology in this
chapter. At first the terrain the river carries them through appears
to have been once glaciated -- there's a lot of dirt and stony beaches
and gravel shoals. This would explain Rohan's flatness and fertile
soil, too.

Then they get to the Emyn Muil region, which appears to be a
sedimentary rock area -- perhaps all limestone, or perhaps of
intermixed limestone and some other, slightly harder rock. I think
the latter, because some rock like sandstone would work much better
than limestone to create the "sharp rocks" of Sarn Gebir and some of
the other rocks and stony eyots in the river. I have no idea from
this chapter what sort of rocks might make up the "high ridges crowned
with wind-writhen firs," but from later descriptions on either side of
the river, particularly the cracks in them and the relative ease with
which water cuts through them both east and west of the Anduin, those
could be limestone.

The Company hauls the boats up through "grey limestone-boulders" to a
small pool that seems to have been "scooped" out by the action of the
water on a pier of rock that juts out into the river; this would also
likely be limestone, especially since it rises into an impassable
"grey cliff."

Since JRRT describes limestone as grey throughout, and also describes
the Argonath (did anybody think of "Argonauts" when they first read
that name?) as grey, likely those are made of limestone, too. This is
borne out because of the weathering described in just a few milennia,
with their "blurred eyes and crannied brows" and "crumbling helm and
crown." Granite or sandstone wouldn't weather much at all in such a
short period of time, geologically speaking (there were no glaciers
during Gondor's history, of course).

So, yes, plausible indeed. And awesome, that scene of the entire
River Anduin gathered up and rushing through this huge canyon...wow!

>3. Why does the Wilderland end there? (silly, but
> interesting)

Just a guess -- because Gondor put the Argonath there?

Barb

AC

unread,
Jun 15, 2004, 11:06:20 AM6/15/04
to
On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 17:49:20 +0400,
Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:

<snip>

Very interesting form of presentation.

>
> 10.The Gate of Argonath
> 1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> wind erosion. Is it plausible?

I doubt it's possible in the real world for the features to be so well
preserved, but sure, I think it's possible. We're also talking about people
who fashioned Orthanc so that the most even a pack of angry ents could do
was chip it.

> 2. Mt.Rushmore, the Pillars of Argonath and the Sphynx
> - who borrowed from whom :-)? As an addition: there are
> gigantic statues of Stalin (torn down) and Lenin (still
> standing) near Moscow, where >65 years ago a Moskva-Volga
> channel was built by prisoners.

Kings building grand monuments is hardly new. The Numenoreans are pretty
heavily modelled on the Egyptians, and we know their love of grand monuments
to rulers.

> 3. Why does the Wilderland end there? (silly, but
> interesting)

I kinda thought that it might be the northern border of Gondor.

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

Joe

unread,
Jun 15, 2004, 11:22:36 AM6/15/04
to

Good response, and to that may I add, at least one bridge across the Tiber
in Rome is still intact and in use after around 2000 years.

I have seen other Roman stonework, notably Pont du Garde in France,
aqueduct, mortarless, three tiers of arches spanning a gorge, and the
structure is still very strong. The Garde River ocassionally flash floods,
notably this spring wiping out many herds of cattle but the Pont stood firm.

Of course, Aragonath could have steel piles driven deep into the underlying
gravels and rock. Nūmenoreans were outstanding civil engineers.


John Jones

unread,
Jun 14, 2004, 3:32:27 PM6/14/04
to
"Archie" <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote in message
news:caka22$1jii$1...@gavrilo.mtu.ru...

> 6.On bows
> a) Aragorn tells the hobbits that the orc-bows will
> easily shoot across the river. How are orc-bows different
> from Mannish ones (made from yew, presumably)? Are they
> better or worse?

Orcs - ordinary ones, anyway - are smaller than Men so they would be unable
to use a self-wood bow, which needs to be very long to gain any efficiency.
They would probably (IMO) use Asian composite bows, which were designed for
use by short horsemen. These bows had a useful long range.

> b) Tolkien rejected the idea of Legolas shooting from the
> boat. Maybe he realised the inherent difficulties of
> marksmanship in the dark from a rocking platform.

If (as I suggested a few days ago) Logolas has a heavy war-bow (givern to
him by Galadriel), he would definately have to brace his feet against the
ground! It takes a considerable effort to draw this sort of bow (which is
where the expression 'Put your back into it' comes from).


>
> 2. Tactics of air support in Sauron's army aren't
> perfect. Why is the Nazgul that reckless to fly in range
> of elven bows? After all, he has already experienced the
> level of defences around the Bearer at the Ford across
> the Bruinen.

But no-one shot at them at that time. It is in fact very difficult to hit a
moving target with an arrow (I've tried) and it must be very much more so to
hit a flying target!

>
> 10.The Gate of Argonath
> 1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> wind erosion. Is it plausible?

Certainly. There are plenty of them around.


> 4. Gimli doesn't boast before Boromir as it may seem
> upon the first reading; the Dwarf sounds insulted when
> Boromir puts him into the same group with the hobbits and
> doubts his strength. Is my impression correct? Boromir,
> OTOH, is poking fun at "our sturdy dwarf" - in other
> circumstances such jokes could lead to a severe rift in
> the Fellowship.

They were all exhausted, so it is not surprising that some of them were a
bit snappish.

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Jun 15, 2004, 6:03:25 PM6/15/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
>> Archie wrote:
>> 6. The swans are black. Why? Are they from Oz? Is it
>>> another artefact of Tolkien's limited knowledge of the
>>> natural sciences? (I admit mine is much more limited).
>>
>> There is a species of swan which is black with red beaks.
>> I believe it is a Eurasian or African species. I recall seeing
>> two domesticated black swans in the Reifel waterfowl refuge in
>> Ladner, BC sometime in the 1970s. Maybe Tolkien saw or heard of
>> domesticated black swans at some point too.
> Actually, it is an Australian/NZ swan species:

Aha, so they *are* from Oz! Though that is probably what
Archie meant all along, and I just missed it to start with. :-)

I Googled too, and found many references to the fact that
they had been introduced in Sweden, and are now well-established
there. I couldn't find *when* they were introduced there.
However, the page
http://web.uct.ac.za/depts/fitzpatrick/docs/hypolist.html
says that they were introduced to South Africa in 1926. That
was too late for Tolkien to have seen them as a child, but they
may have been introduced into Europe around the same time. JRRT
may have heard about them being in Sweden, or may have seen them
himself in a park somewhere.

Archie

unread,
Jun 15, 2004, 6:50:22 PM6/15/04
to
AC wrote:
> On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 17:49:20 +0400,
> Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
>
[...]

> > 10.The Gate of Argonath
> > 1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> > wind erosion. Is it plausible?
>
> I doubt it's possible in the real world for the features to be so well
> preserved, but sure, I think it's possible. We're also talking about people
> who fashioned Orthanc so that the most even a pack of angry ents could do
> was chip it.
Is it the same magic of preservation, staving off decay that
characterised the Three Rings? First, Orthanc surely looks magical.
Second, the Pillars of Argonath are standing in a swift stream and are
subjected to humid air, roaring winds (in a 'wind tunnel'!!), temperature
variations of unknown magnitude and even snow (cf. Aragorn's words to
Frodo). Their RL counterpart (the Sphynx) lives in a desert with stable
weather. Do we have enough trust in Numenorean engineering to attribute
to it the preservation of the Gate in adverse conditions? The extent of
the 'unexplained' and 'implausible' may vary, but I reckon it to be quite
large, warranting resort to 'magic'.


> > 2. Mt.Rushmore, the Pillars of Argonath and the Sphynx
> > - who borrowed from whom :-)? As an addition: there are
> > gigantic statues of Stalin (torn down) and Lenin (still
> > standing) near Moscow, where >65 years ago a Moskva-Volga
> > channel was built by prisoners.
>
> Kings building grand monuments is hardly new. The Numenoreans are pretty
> heavily modelled on the Egyptians, and we know their love of grand monuments
> to rulers.
Did Numenoreans use free labour to build all this??! In a subsistence
economy this trick won't do, and in any other economy you need huge
supplies of surplus food/money/materials to undertake such projects. Even
assuming that Gondor had all this plus machines and skillful engineers,
I'd bet construction workers' union would be pushing the limit... A
possible explanation is the desire of the people of Gondor (and not
only its kings) to commemorate the dearly bought victory.


> > 3. Why does the Wilderland end there? (silly, but
> > interesting)
>
> I kinda thought that it might be the northern border of Gondor.
:-) How do we know what the 'natural' border of an exilic Kingdom is? I
agree that Anduin and the Emyn Muil are the best candidates in a
strategic sense, but we don't know the exact borders of the princedoms of
Rhovanion.

Archie

AC

unread,
Jun 15, 2004, 6:51:57 PM6/15/04
to
On Wed, 16 Jun 2004 02:50:22 +0400,
Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
> Did Numenoreans use free labour to build all this??! In a subsistence
> economy this trick won't do, and in any other economy you need huge
> supplies of surplus food/money/materials to undertake such projects. Even
> assuming that Gondor had all this plus machines and skillful engineers,
> I'd bet construction workers' union would be pushing the limit... A
> possible explanation is the desire of the people of Gondor (and not
> only its kings) to commemorate the dearly bought victory.

I can't comment on forced labor in Russia during the Soviet Era, but I can
tell you that the notion that the pyramids were built with slave labor is a
Hollywoodism, and not based upon the historical evidence. The pyramids were
not built by slaves. I'm sure that the Numenoreans were much the same at
the height of their power.

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

Emma Pease

unread,
Jun 15, 2004, 10:11:26 PM6/15/04
to
In article <u6jsc0pr9boct7eg8...@4ax.com>, Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:
> On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 17:49:20 +0400, Archie
><no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
>
>> 8.Boromir's temptation
>>It is painted by 3 short sketches: Boromir bites nails
>>and peers at Frodo's boat; Boromir is too curious about
>>Frodo's feelings; Boromir suddenly changing his mind when
>>Frodo follows Aragorn. This is quite enough for Sam to
>>become suspicious, and more than enough for a reader. Or
>>is it not? I'd like everyone who remembers his/her first
>>reading of the FotR to say honestly whether these pieces
>>aroused any suspicions.
>
> Not so much suspicion as a realization that something was wrong with
> Boromir -- it never dawned on me that he was thinking about the Ring
> until he confronted Frodo later on. I think this was because the
> hints given to us about Boromir's realizing it was the Ring he wanted
> in Lorien really weren't clear enough to lay the foundation. It felt
> a little artificial. He might have worked Boromir's growing interest
> in the Ring a bit more.

Any thoughts on Boromir's mindset? Is Sam's judgment of Boromir
correct?

The ring plays on Boromir's desire to save Gondor and even more on his
desire to be the hero but I think Boromir for the most part is
resisting because he is an honorable man. The ring then plays on the
foolhardiness of sending the ring off into Sauron's lands.

I also think that Boromir is very alone in the group and this made him
more vulnerable. The hobbits have each other, Legolas and Gimli
become friends and can depend on each other, Aragorn and Boromir are
the two loners. If Gandalf were still around and leader, Boromir
might have been able to talk to Aragorn since they would have been
more equal within the group and both were intending initially to split
from the party and go to Minas Tirith. But with Gandalf gone, Aragorn
is the leader and less approachable and his duty is now different.
Aragorn is also alone but he had more experience, more knowledge about
the risks of the ring, and more strength.

Boromir is slowly sliding down a steep slope in this chapter but he
does not fall completely until Parth Galen when talking to Frodo.

Emma

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

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jun 16, 2004, 10:19:18 AM6/16/04
to

Yes, I think you've got it. Not only is he alone: I recall something
someone said during the "Council of Elrond" discussions, that Boromir
handled himself very well there considering that he was confronted for
the first time with beings -- Elves, halflings and dwarves, not to
mention the legendary Elrond Halfelven, and especially the Heir of
Isildur -- that were outside the usual scope of life in Gondor and in
spite of all this had to speak for Gondor and also make decisions that
would be in Gondor's best interest. He really did the best he could,
and maybe his resistance in this chapter is rewarded later on by his
repentance and confession to Aragorn. What a strong character Boromir
really is.

Barb

Odysseus

unread,
Jun 16, 2004, 10:05:19 PM6/16/04
to
Archie wrote:
>
> AC wrote:
> > On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 17:49:20 +0400,
> > Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
> >
> [...]
> > > 10.The Gate of Argonath
> > > 1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> > > wind erosion. Is it plausible?
> >
Sure. I could add little to Belba's discussion upthread.

> > I doubt it's possible in the real world for the features to be so well
> > preserved, but sure, I think it's possible. We're also talking about people
> > who fashioned Orthanc so that the most even a pack of angry ents could do
> > was chip it.
> Is it the same magic of preservation, staving off decay that
> characterised the Three Rings? First, Orthanc surely looks magical.
> Second, the Pillars of Argonath are standing in a swift stream and are
> subjected to humid air, roaring winds (in a 'wind tunnel'!!), temperature
> variations of unknown magnitude and even snow (cf. Aragorn's words to
> Frodo). Their RL counterpart (the Sphynx) lives in a desert with stable
> weather. Do we have enough trust in Numenorean engineering to attribute
> to it the preservation of the Gate in adverse conditions? The extent of
> the 'unexplained' and 'implausible' may vary, but I reckon it to be quite
> large, warranting resort to 'magic'.
>

Three thousand years isn't all that long in the lifespan of massive
stonework -- as long as no-one dismantles it to recycle the
materials. Aren't the giant statues from Abu Simbel (that were
relocated during the construction of the Aswan Dam) about that old? I
imagine the footings of the Pillars could have been protected from
the currents by "rip rap", after the fashion of modern bridge piers
and breakwaters. I'm not sure what you mean by "stable weather" in
the Sphynx's environment (note that it's likely some *five* thousand
years old), but I would think the abrasive effect of desert
sandstorms to make up for a slow rate of erosion by water, at least
to some extent.

--
Odysseus

Henriette

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 7:53:27 AM6/17/04
to
Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message news:<scl0d0tqk12vk6gfm...@4ax.com>...

> On Wed, 16 Jun 2004 02:11:26 +0000 (UTC), Emma Pease
> <em...@kanpai.stanford.edu> wrote:

> >The ring plays on Boromir's desire to save Gondor and even more on his
> >desire to be the hero but I think Boromir for the most part is
> >resisting because he is an honorable man. The ring then plays on the
> >foolhardiness of sending the ring off into Sauron's lands.
> >
> >I also think that Boromir is very alone in the group and this made him

> >more vulnerable. (snip)



> Yes, I think you've got it. Not only is he alone: I recall something
> someone said during the "Council of Elrond" discussions, that Boromir
> handled himself very well there considering that he was confronted for

> the first time with beings (snip) He really did the best he could,


> and maybe his resistance in this chapter is rewarded later on by his
> repentance and confession to Aragorn. What a strong character Boromir
> really is.
>

LOL. Considering I also stood up for Boromir recently, I can only
conclude that he must be a popular character with the ladies. Thinking
of Jette I can only add: both in the book and in the film:-)

Henriette

Henriette

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 8:04:45 AM6/17/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<Pcrzc.382$2K3.2...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

> Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
>
> Very interesting way of approaching this chapter!
>
Yes, very original, and nice I didn't have to scroll.

> > 1.Tolkien goes boating
> > 2.First impression from the regatta
>
> LOL!
>

Yes, that *is* funny, the regatta!

> > Frodo is foolish enough to try to show off
> > his knowledge of wise matters by revealing the whereabouts
> > of one of the Elven Rings. Aragorn reprimands him.
>
> Is Frodo really showing off? Surely he is caught up in the magic of
> Legolas's comments about time. And who can blame him!
>

No, IMO is he not at all showing off, but carried away by the
conversation and not thinking of the fact that he has to be on guard
even amongst friends.

> > 1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> > wind erosion. Is it plausible?
>
> The Egyptian pyramids have lasted over 4000 years. The Sphinx was doing
> OK too, until Napoleon's army started taking pot-shots at it...

I see many people (Joe, Odysseus, John)in this thread mention very old
stone buildings which survived the millenia, and I would also answer
that it *is* plausible.

Henriette

Henriette

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 8:27:48 AM6/17/04
to
Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote in message news:<caka22$1jii$1...@gavrilo.mtu.ru>...

Hi Archie, WB! I was wondering if you would return in time for your
chapter treatment, but you were, and what's more, it is impressive
work!

> Due to slightly unforeseen (but generally beneficial)
> developments in the local labour market I have been cut
> off from the AFT/RABT discussions for 3 long months;

Congratulations, good for you! (bad for us though....)

> Frodo has the symptoms of a Nazgul syndrome;

very nicely put:-)

> Everybody
> is awed; everybody is frightened by the gigantic figures of the
> Kings guarding the Gate - but Aragorn.

I think Christopher already said they were awed yes, but frightened
no, at least not Boromir. I think so too.

> This passage in the final text is forceful and quite
> impressive:
> "Fear not!" said a strange voice behind him. Frodo turned
> and saw Strider, and yet not Strider; for the weatherworn
> Ranger was no longer there. In the stern sat Aragorn son
> of Arathorn, proud and erect, guiding the boat with
> skilful strokes; his hood was cast back, and his dark
> hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes: a
> king returning from exile to his own land.
> "Fear not!" he said. "Long have I desired to look upon
> the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, my sires of old.
> Under their shadow Elessar, the Elfstone son of Arathorn
> of the House of Valandil Isildur's son heir of Elendil,
> has nought to dread!"

There is no way I am going to snip *this* quote, as it is indeed
impressive.

> A question: does Boromir's behaviour influence Aragorn's
> decision to double night watches?
>

No. IMO Aragorn hasn't got a clue.

> 2. Boromir bites nails - what is that? Tolkien's deep
> psychological insight or an out-of-character remark?

Deep psychological insight indeed. Our heroes, Boromir, and in the
former chapter Galadriel, have despite their power and strength a very
"human" side to them. Why can't a warrior bite nails when under severe
stress?

> 4. Gimli doesn't boast before Boromir as it may seem
> upon the first reading; the Dwarf sounds insulted when
> Boromir puts him into the same group with the hobbits and
> doubts his strength. Is my impression correct?

I didn't have that impression. I thought Gimli merely corrected
Boromir, understanding he could not have known. But I project, that he
may have been irritated at the "sturdy dwarf"-remark. I didn't like
it.

Henriette

Archie

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 7:46:12 PM6/17/04
to
Henriette wrote in message
news:<be50318e.04061...@posting.google.com>...

> Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote in message
news:<caka22$1jii$1...@gavrilo.mtu.ru>... >
> Hi Archie, WB! I was wondering if you would return in time for your
> chapter treatment, but you were, and what's more, it is impressive
> work!
... with 3 silly questions it is indeed impressive (a huge F on
critical skills is guaranteed :-)

> > Everybody
> > is awed; everybody is frightened by the gigantic figures of the
> > Kings guarding the Gate - but Aragorn.
>
> I think Christopher already said they were awed yes, but frightened
> no, at least not Boromir. I think so too.

Agreed. I'd add that Boromir is biting too deeply into his nails
to be frightened...
[...]

> > A question: does Boromir's behaviour influence Aragorn's
> > decision to double night watches?
> >
> No. IMO Aragorn hasn't got a clue.

Finally we see a clueless Aragorn (with his suicidal decision to
force the rapids and now his blindness as a leader to the "problems
inside" the Fellowship.

[...]


> Deep psychological insight indeed. Our heroes, Boromir, and in the
> former chapter Galadriel, have despite their power and strength a
very > "human" side to them. Why can't a warrior bite nails when
under severe > stress?

I have never done that; but I'm not a warrior.

> > 4. Gimli doesn't boast before Boromir as it may seem
> > upon the first reading; the Dwarf sounds insulted when
> > Boromir puts him into the same group with the hobbits and
> > doubts his strength. Is my impression correct?
>
> I didn't have that impression. I thought Gimli merely corrected
> Boromir, understanding he could not have known. But I project, that
he > may have been irritated at the "sturdy dwarf"-remark. I didn't
like > it.

Boromir is disrupting the air of co-operation. His pride works badly
on the Fellowship.

Archie

Archie

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 8:15:17 PM6/17/04
to
"John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<can8rk$h91$1...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk>...

> "Archie" <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote in message
> news:caka22$1jii$1...@gavrilo.mtu.ru...
> > 6.On bows
> > a) Aragorn tells the hobbits that the orc-bows will
> > easily shoot across the river. How are orc-bows different
> > from Mannish ones (made from yew, presumably)? Are they
> > better or worse?
>
> Orcs - ordinary ones, anyway - are smaller than Men so they would be unable
> to use a self-wood bow, which needs to be very long to gain any efficiency.
> They would probably (IMO) use Asian composite bows, which were designed for
> use by short horsemen. These bows had a useful long range.
I had this idea in the back of my mind, but presumably different races of
Orcs used different bows (according to their stature and strength?).

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Tolkien imagined the Uruks using
self-wood bows. It is difficult to tell whether JRRT even _knew_ about
composite bows.

[...]


> > 2. Tactics of air support in Sauron's army aren't
> > perfect. Why is the Nazgul that reckless to fly in range
> > of elven bows? After all, he has already experienced the
> > level of defences around the Bearer at the Ford across
> > the Bruinen.
>
> But no-one shot at them at that time. It is in fact very difficult to hit a
> moving target with an arrow (I've tried) and it must be very much more so to
> hit a flying target!

Ummm... What was the Nazgul up to, after all? Did he intend to grab Frodo
and fly away?

> > 10.The Gate of Argonath
> > 1. Stonework endures for 3 millennia despite water and
> > wind erosion. Is it plausible?
>
> Certainly. There are plenty of them around.

This has been extensively commented upon by other posters as well, and I
have to admit that cited reasons are valid and acceptable. If Gondor opens
a tourist trail through the Argonath, I'll be the first to go there...

Archie

Archie

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 8:23:23 PM6/17/04
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<slrnccuvcd.3k8....@alder.alberni.net>...

> On Wed, 16 Jun 2004 02:50:22 +0400,
> Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
> > Did Numenoreans use free labour to build all this??! In a subsistence
> > economy this trick won't do, and in any other economy you need huge
> > supplies of surplus food/money/materials to undertake such projects. Even
> > assuming that Gondor had all this plus machines and skillful engineers,
> > I'd bet construction workers' union would be pushing the limit... A
> > possible explanation is the desire of the people of Gondor (and not
> > only its kings) to commemorate the dearly bought victory.
>
> ...I can tell you that the notion that the pyramids were built with

> slave labor is a Hollywoodism, and not based upon the historical
> evidence. The pyramids were not built by slaves. I'm sure that the
> Numenoreans were much the same at the height of their power.
Aaron, I haven't seen any Hollyvoid movies on ancient Egypt, but my
(Soviet-era) textbooks on ancient history cite Egypt as a classical
example of a society where slavery was _the_ norm (everybody was a slave to
the pharoah but to a different extent). I'd be grateful to learn
counterarguments and/or any new ideas on the construction of pyramids.

Archie

Archie

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 8:35:32 PM6/17/04
to
held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote in message news:<be50318e.04061...@posting.google.com>...

> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<Pcrzc.382$2K3.2...@news-text.cableinet.net>...
> > Archie <no-longer-on-the...@mail.ru> wrote:
[...]

> > > Frodo is foolish enough to try to show off
> > > his knowledge of wise matters by revealing the whereabouts
> > > of one of the Elven Rings. Aragorn reprimands him.
> >
> > Is Frodo really showing off? Surely he is caught up in the magic of
> > Legolas's comments about time. And who can blame him!
> >
> No, IMO is he not at all showing off, but carried away by the
> conversation and not thinking of the fact that he has to be on guard
> even amongst friends.
Frodo is deemed to be the wisest hobbit in the Shire; he saw Sam
eavesdrop, he knows that Gollum is nearby, yet he doesn't pay attention
to the simplest precautionary measures.

Archie (too suspicious to trust others and himself)

the softrat

unread,
Jun 17, 2004, 10:27:59 PM6/17/04
to
On 17 Jun 2004 17:23:23 -0700, sparchim...@mail.ru (Archie)
wrote:

>Aaron, I haven't seen any Hollyvoid movies on ancient Egypt, but my
>(Soviet-era) textbooks on ancient history cite Egypt as a classical
>example of a society where slavery was _the_ norm (everybody was a slave to
>the pharoah but to a different extent). I'd be grateful to learn
>counterarguments and/or any new ideas on the construction of pyramids.
>

Well, kinda, yeah, just like everyone in the CCCP was a slave to the
CP. However the Ancient Egyptians had special classes of 'owned'
people. It is to these persons that we refer when we say 'slave'. The
builders of the pyramids apparently were ordinary Egyptian farmers,
working for money and glory in their off-time. Of course, they were
kinda 'drafted' for the service, but governments have been doing
*that* as long as there have been governments (if not longer! "It is
for the Good of the People!").

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
Half the people you know are below average. -- Steven Wright

Count Menelvagor

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Jun 18, 2004, 2:20:16 AM6/18/04
to
>
> 5.On time in the Elf-land of Lorien
> HoME lays out three successive timing schemes of the
> journey of the Fellowship conceived by Tolkien (there are
> several minor variations of the 1st and the 2nd):

<snip time tables>


> In the first two schemes the "outer world" time-span
> spent in Lorien is 1 night, in the final one - a full
> month. It is obvious that the final scheme is much less
> magical. Why?
> /* Of course, we know from trad.folk tales, Lord
> Dunsany's 'KoE's D.' and JRRT's own 'On Fairy Stories'
> that the Elves' time differs from our own.*/
>
> -
> Legolas stirred in his boat. "Nay, time does not tarry
> ever," he said; "but change and growth is not in all
> things and places alike. For the Elves the world moves,
> and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift,
> because they themselves change little, and all else ?eets
> by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not
> count the running years, not for themselves. The passing
> seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long
> stream. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an
> end at last."
> -
> Legolas' remark is one of the most philosophical in the
> whole LotR (rivalled only by his conversation with Gimli
> in Minas Tirith about the deeds of men.) In other
> versions his words are partly taken by Frodo.

This is the most interesting part of the chapter. Verilyn Flieger, in
A Question of Time, discusses this poassage and compares with earlier
versions in HOME. Fascinating reading; but unfortunately it's been a
long time since I read it, and I've forgotten her precise argument.
IIRC she develops the contrast between mortal and immortal
perspectives on time? If anyone has read this more recently and can
refresh my memory, I'd be grateful.

Meanwhile, I'll just have to take a stab at the passage myself:

Sam begins the discussion by describing how he experienced time in
Lorien, and puzzling over the apparent contrast between this
experience and his current observation.

Frodo offers a possible explanation: Not only do Elves have a
different time from mortals -- *objectively* different. Elvish time,
Frodo suggests, is actually a past time embalmed.

Legolas, in the passage quoted above, begins by correcting Frodo:
Lorien is not a land that time forgot. But change (a property of
time) varies from place to place -- a notion Legolas doesn't really
develop, at least directly.

Legolas shifts instead from the objective character of time to its
subjective experience, wich he divides into experience from the inside
and experience from the outside. From the inside, Elves experience
time as slow, since they change little (we see again the connection
between time and change); but from the outside, they experience it as
swift, again because of the rapidity of change.

Legolas concludes that everything, or at least, eveything "beneath the
Sun" is subject to time -- including the Elves. a dim foreshadowing,
here, of the eventual fading of the Elves.

Frodo deduces from the main body of Legolas's speech (or perhaps
rather from the bit on different places having different rates of
change) that time at least moves more slowly in Lorien. For the
attribution of this quality to the e;f-ring, compare the statement in
"Council of Elrond" to the effect that the rings of the Elves were
meant to preserve; the rings are a kind of symbol of the Elves'
relation to their past, and therefore to time. The passage "rich are
the hours, but few they seem" is suggestive; Iu believe it means that
mortals experience time in Lorien as if they were immortals.

Postscript: The discussion of time echoes Gimli's remark about memory
in the precedung chapter (for what is memory if not the relation
between the mind and time?): "Memory is not what the heart desires.
That is only a mirror, be it as clear as Kheled-zaram. Or so says the
heart of Gimli the Dwarf. Elves may see things otherwise. Indeed I
have heard that for them memory is more like to the waking world than
to a dream. Not so for the Dwarves."

Henriette

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Jun 18, 2004, 2:43:34 PM6/18/04
to
sparchim...@mail.ru (Archie) wrote in message news:<6a07658a.0406...@posting.google.com>...

> held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote in message news:<be50318e.04061...@posting.google.com>...

> > No, IMO is he not at all showing off, but carried away by the


> > conversation and not thinking of the fact that he has to be on guard
> > even amongst friends.

> Frodo is deemed to be the wisest hobbit in the Shire; he saw Sam
> eavesdrop, he knows that Gollum is nearby, yet he doesn't pay attention
> to the simplest precautionary measures.
>

LOL. But is he aware that he is not supposed to talk about the Lady's
Ring? Why is Aragorn not supposed to know, when Galadriel herself
tells about it to Sam?

Henriette

Henriette

unread,
Jun 18, 2004, 2:52:25 PM6/18/04
to
sparchim...@mail.ru (Archie) wrote in message news:<6a07658a.04061...@posting.google.com>...

> Henriette wrote in message
> news:<be50318e.04061...@posting.google.com>...

> > Hi Archie, WB! I was wondering if you would return in time for your


> > chapter treatment, but you were, and what's more, it is impressive
> > work!
> ... with 3 silly questions it is indeed impressive (a huge F on
> critical skills is guaranteed :-)
>

Don't bash yourself! I love silly questions. They give me a chance to
stand out:-)

> > I think Christopher already said they were awed yes, but frightened
> > no, at least not Boromir. I think so too.
> Agreed. I'd add that Boromir is biting too deeply into his nails
> to be frightened...

I notice you don't like Boromir. Maybe that will still change in the
course of the upcoming chapters..... Are you not sorry for him and his
kinsmen in their desperate fight?

> > No. IMO Aragorn hasn't got a clue.
> Finally we see a clueless Aragorn (with his suicidal decision to
> force the rapids and now his blindness as a leader to the "problems
> inside" the Fellowship.
>

He has a hard time. You're a severe judge!

Henriette

Michael Martinez

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Jun 18, 2004, 3:09:12 PM6/18/04
to
Menel...@mailandnews.com (Count Menelvagor) wrote in message news:<6bfb27a8.04061...@posting.google.com>...

[snip]

Frodo concludes with reference to the Elven Ring, and though Legolas'
perspective of time is very important for the reader wanting to get
into the Elven psyche, what happened in Lorien is due to the power of
the Ring.

Many commentators have noted that what happens in Lorien is very
similar to the effect experienced by mortals in fairy-tales where they
enter Faery for what they think is a few days or a night and they come
out many years later.

However, Tolkien provided a mechanism which explains this effect in
both Rivendell and Lothlorien (Bilbo mentions to Frodo that it is hard
to keep track of time in Rivendell). These effects are clues for the
reader that Rings of Power are at work, holding back the effects of
Time.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jun 18, 2004, 3:55:54 PM6/18/04
to
Count Menelvagor <Menel...@mailandnews.com> wrote:

[On Legolas's quote on Time while on the Great River]

> Frodo deduces from the main body of Legolas's speech (or perhaps
> rather from the bit on different places having different rates of
> change) that time at least moves more slowly in Lorien. For the

> attribution of this quality to the elf-ring, compare the statement in


> "Council of Elrond" to the effect that the rings of the Elves were
> meant to preserve; the rings are a kind of symbol of the Elves'
> relation to their past, and therefore to time. The passage "rich are

> the hours, but few they seem" is suggestive; I believe it means that


> mortals experience time in Lorien as if they were immortals.

Frodo says the wearing of time in Lorien is slow. Rich are the hours
though short they seem. Aragorn confirms this with the phrase "There


time flowed swiftly by us, as for the Elves."

It is important to realise that _objectively_ (if they had watches for
example) the same time is flowing inside and outside Lorien. It is only
the people in Lorien that are affected and experience a different
_subjective_ rate of time. The same _amount_ of time has passed inside
and outside Lorien.

Sam and Frodo initially think they have lost time, but they are
corrected by Legolas and Aragorn. They have merely lost track of time.

Jette Goldie

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Jun 18, 2004, 5:33:16 PM6/18/04
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"the softrat" <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:mfk4d0hdjg6nfccbt...@4ax.com...

> On 17 Jun 2004 17:23:23 -0700, sparchim...@mail.ru (Archie)
> wrote:
>
> >Aaron, I haven't seen any Hollyvoid movies on ancient Egypt, but my
> >(Soviet-era) textbooks on ancient history cite Egypt as a classical
> >example of a society where slavery was _the_ norm (everybody was a slave
to
> >the pharoah but to a different extent). I'd be grateful to learn
> >counterarguments and/or any new ideas on the construction of pyramids.
> >
> Well, kinda, yeah, just like everyone in the CCCP was a slave to the
> CP. However the Ancient Egyptians had special classes of 'owned'
> people. It is to these persons that we refer when we say 'slave'. The
> builders of the pyramids apparently were ordinary Egyptian farmers,
> working for money and glory in their off-time. Of course, they were
> kinda 'drafted' for the service, but governments have been doing
> *that* as long as there have been governments (if not longer! "It is
> for the Good of the People!").


Beg pardon, but some of the work done on the pyramids
required very specialised skills - the modern thinking is
that the workforce were neither slaves, nor farmers
temporarily drafted (though temporary workers may
have swelled the workforce from time to time) but
a kind "civil servant" class, handing down from generation
to generation.

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


the softrat

unread,
Jun 18, 2004, 6:20:20 PM6/18/04
to
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 21:33:16 GMT, "Jette Goldie"
<j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote:
>
>Beg pardon, but some of the work done on the pyramids
>required very specialised skills - the modern thinking is
>that the workforce were neither slaves, nor farmers
>temporarily drafted (though temporary workers may
>have swelled the workforce from time to time) but
>a kind "civil servant" class, handing down from generation
>to generation.

Hokay! I grant you what you begged for!

Just NOT slaves!

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

"I don't want to tell you any half-truths unless they are
completely accurate." -- Dennis Rappaport, boxing manager

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jun 18, 2004, 8:24:16 PM6/18/04
to
On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 15:22:36 GMT, "Joe"
<j...@all.spammers.must.die.die.die.com> wrote:

>I have seen other Roman stonework, notably Pont du Garde in France,
>aqueduct, mortarless, three tiers of arches spanning a gorge, and the
>structure is still very strong. The Garde River ocassionally flash floods,
>notably this spring wiping out many herds of cattle but the Pont stood firm.

I'd have to get a geologic map of the area to get an idea of what sort
of rock was used in the aquaduct, but while googling I found the
following description, worth including here because it describes the
condition of that rock in 1763:

About five in the afternoon, I had the first glimpse of the
famous Pont du Garde, which stands on the right hand, about
the distance of a league from the post-road to Nismes, and
about three leagues from that city. I would not willingly pass
for a false enthusiast in taste; but I cannot help observing,
that from the first distant view of this noble monument, till
we came near enough to see it perfectly, I felt the strongest
emotions of impatience that I had ever known; and obliged our
driver to put his mules to the full gallop, in the
apprehension that it would be dark before we reached the
place. I expected to find the building, in some measure,
ruinous; but was agreeably disappointed, to see it look as
fresh as the bridge at Westminster. The climate is either so
pure and dry, or the free-stone, with which it is built, so
hard, that the very angles of them remain as acute as if they
had been cut last year. Indeed, some large stones have dropped
out of the arches; but the whole is admirably preserved, and
presents the eye with a piece of architecture, so unaffectedly
elegant, so simple, and majestic, that I will defy the most
phlegmatic and stupid spectator to behold it without
admiration.
-------- Tobias Smollett, from "Travels...", Letter X

http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/geo/travel/TravelsThroughFranceandItaly/chap16.html


>Of course, Aragonath could have steel piles driven deep into the underlying

>gravels and rock. Nûmenoreans were outstanding civil engineers.

I had imagined the two figures carved out of the living rock and so
without need of base support, but that is certainly another option and
the Numenoreans (who fashioned, among other things, Isengard) were
quite capable of it as you point out.

I have seen a disused Roman lighthouse near Dover Castle, and of
course, there is the Tower of Hercules, built by the Emperor Trajan at
what is now La Coruña in Spain, and renovated a bit in the 19th
Century, but still in operation as the oldest working lighthouse in
the world (picture at
http://onlae.terra.es/loteria/sorviajeros/2003/SORTEO_04/Torredehercules.htm
but caption is in Spanish).

The Dover lighthouse looked a bit rugged, but was by no means in
ruins; its stones were in good shape (that is a limestone area, too --
white cliffs of Dover and all that -- so maybe it's a good comparison
to the rocks in this chapter of the book). I think the difference
between it and the Tower of Hercules is human use. And this ties in
with the impression of the Argonath -- they are blurry and a bit
crumbling around the edges because Gondor has shrunken and for many
years no king has sat on the throne.

Barb