CotW, Book 4, Ch.7, Journey to the Cross-roads

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Michelle J. Haines

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Nov 1, 2004, 11:40:01 PM11/1/04
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Chapter of the Week, Book Four, Chapter Seven, "Journey to the Cross-
roads"

Frodo and Sam return to bed, just to rest for a little bit. After a
while, they're roused to have breakfast with Faramir, who has not
slept since he appeared on the scene. Some stamina on that guy.

After breakfast, Faramir (in his courtly and stately speech that is
really quite lovely), informs the Hobbits that he has filled their
packs with food, then gives them information on where to find water.
Plenty in Ithilien, he says, but don't drink anything that flows out
from Imlad Morgul. I wonder if he really stopped to think about
whether they could get across Imlad Morgul with no water sources to
refill at?

He then gives them intelligence about what's moving on the road, with
this wording:
"The find a strange thing. The land is empty. Nothing is on the
road, and no sound of foot, or horn, or bowstring is anywhere to be
heard. A waiting silence broods above the Nameless Land. I do not
know what this portends. But the time draws swiftly to some great
conclusion. Storm is coming. Hasten while you may! If you are
ready, let us go. The Sun will soon rise above the shadow."

I looked up what's going on in the Tale of Years, to see what was
happening elsewhere, and it seems clear this is a sudden stillness,
literally the calm before the storm. We see more hints of it
throughout the chapter.

Faramir's final gift is two walking staves, resized for Hobbits, made
of lebethron. Any significance to this tree besides what is
mentioned? And here we have again the issue of men and spells,
because he utters his words "A virtue has been set upon them of
finding and returning." I'll leave you folks to battle it out as you
will.

Frodo says goodbye in his stately and polite way, as is his habit:
"Most gracious host, it was said to be by Elrond Halfelven that I
should find friendship upon the way, secret and unlooked for.
Certainly I looked for no such friendship as you have shown. To
have found it turns evil to great good."

So polite, these gentlemen!

It's finally time to actually leave (Middle-Earth departures always
seem rather prolonged), and Gollum is dragged out of some hidey-hole
in which he was being kept. You can make a certain argument here
that Gollum is being treated as less than human by the Hobbits and
the Men. Presumably they fed him, and perhaps he should have been
jailed because of his dangerous nature, but he gets no real formal
farewell, no farewell gifts or anything. Even given they didn't
trust him, and even accepting the blindfolding behavior, his
exclusion from the rights of hospitality gives him more a default
status as a Creature of the Dark than you'd think they'd give to
someone participating in such an important mission for the light.

So, Faramir releases Frodo and Sam from the mandatory blindfolding,
but not Gollum, but Frodo suggests they blindfold all three anyway so
as not to panic Gollum. They are all taken so they are still
standing under the woods, but so they can no longer hear the
waterfall. Faramir then gives Frodo some geography advice. I have
an extremely difficult time visualizing instructions in this area of
the book, so I'll reproduce them verbatim:

"Go straight on, for thus you will have the cover of the woodland for
many miles. On you west is an edge where the land falls into the
great vales, sometimes suddenly and sheer, sometimes in long
hillsides. Keep near to this edge and the skirts of the forest. In
the beginning of your journey you may walk under daylight, I think.
The land dreams in a false peace, and for a while all evil is
withdrawn."

As we will shortly see, "the beginning of their journey" was less
than a day, and the false peace didn't last very long.

The Men and Hobbits exchange bows and embraces, and the Men vanish,
"The forest were Faramir had stood seemed empty and drear, as if a
dream had passed." Seems very reminiscent of the hiding of Lorien as
they passed away from that land, as well.

The next paragraph includes, "As if to mark his disregard for all
such courtesy, Gollum was scrabbling in the mould at the foot of a
tree."

That seems an extremely harsh judgement for someone now shown any
courtesy -- mercy, yes, courtesy, most assuredly not! -- himself. I
think in those circumstances, I might be tempted to be a bit ruder
than normal myself!

I think the verbal exchange between Frodo and Gollum here shows a
significant amount of buried rage on Gollum's part, and a resentment
that Frodo would not defend Gollum's side in any way, which is why in
answer to Frodo's rebuke, Gollum becomes quite obsequious. I think
we see a further sign is his resentment and anger when while they
stop twice and the Hobbits eat, and despite the fact they now have
food he can certainly share, when they eat Gollum doesn't. When they
Hobbits bed down for the night, Gollum vanishes for the entire time,
and Sam is extremely uneasy about it. Gollum returns at first light,
snipping at them to get a move on.

For this day of travel, the air ominously becomes heavier, and the
silence deeper. Again, back to the horror movie moments. Gollum
because extremely nervous about walking in any open spaces. `

Another geography section. I hate geography sections, I get lost in
closets.

As night falls, they come to the edge of a valley. The woods start
again on the other side of it. On their right, presumably as they
face south, are the Mountains of Gondor. To the left are the walls
of Mordor, and the valley starts in that direction, falling steeply
and getting wider as it heads to join with the Anduin. There is a
stream in the bottom of the valley. A road comes down from the top
of the valley on their side, from Minus Morgul to Osgiliath,
apparently. The text just says "the ruined city by the shores of the
River". Gollum gripes at the danger of their position and how the
advice of Faramir was incorrect, and says they must turn East now,
but stay off the road.

Frodo mentally ruminates on how menacing the land seems to him: the
road appears lonely and forsaken, the sound of the water seems cold
and cruel, the water is polluted, and he feels like unseen evil is
passing on the road. Your heart has to go out to him at this moment,
feeling so small and vulnerable no doubt that even the sound of water
seems against him, but it's only a taste of the isolation and horror
that is coming.

Frodo asks Gollum where they should hide for the night, to be told
that it's time to switch back to nighttime travel, but Sam interjects
they need at least a couple hours of sleep first. Gollum refuses to
remain on the ground near the road, so the three of them crawl up
into a tree to sleep. That just CAN'T be comfortable. Also, we know
from Lorien how Hobbits feel about sleeping in heights of any kind,
and they don't even have a floor or a screen this time. Gollum
immediately drops off to sleep, but the Hobbits don't even close
their eyes. So, they have to move on to night travelling without any
real rest even after Sam's complaining. They start the eastward
journey, with the last becoming more and more difficult to navigate,
especially in the very dark night.

They climb a hog-back (a common name for certain types of hill here
in the American West, too, which I hadn't heard of until my husband
mentioned it years ago), and start to look about for shelter to sleep
during the day. The land itself is becoming more hostile to them,
with the plants all spines and thorns and prickles even when they
have flowers. They take shelters in a sheltered tangle of thorns
with a room-like area in the middle of a thicket. They wait for day,
but only get a "brown twilight". Gollum is not yet sure they should
move this day, but does inform them they must pass the Cross-roads
next.

Vapours start rising out of the East, and Gollum soon disappears
again, sniffing and muttering. Sam falls asleep and is dreaming of
Bag End being disorganized and weedy and that he can't find his pipe.
The pipe seems simple enough, longing for basic comforts, but is the
rest prophetic at all? What's going on in the Shire right now?

Sam wakes up to find the unnatural darkness complete, and some odd
thunderings and ground tremblings going on. What's happening? Sam
snarks about Gollum's uselessness, and Frodo gently corrects him.
It's Frodo's turn to eat and sleep, and he talks in his sleep a bit,
something about Gandalf.

Gollum comes back in a panic, or perhaps extremely excited, Wake up,
no time to lose, get a move on! He's extremely frantic, and not
willing to be servile at all about it. Sam is (say it with me now,
children) suspicious. They all move along very quickly, but as
quietly as possible. Good thing Hobbits are good at that, and they
have the aid of the cloaks.

They go down from their hiding place on the hill, then as straight a
path south as possible, until they come to a belt of trees, extremely
old and tall. You almost get a feeling like they're an old tower
from the mood of the text. A living tower, obviously.

Gollum finally begins to speak and one of the thing he says is: "This
is the only way, No paths beyond the road. No paths. We must go to
the Cross-roads. But make haste! Be silent!"

Being a geography moron who regularly gets lost in my closet. Eh?
Do the roads cross in some sort of canyons? Someone explain! I'm
confused.

They creep down, stand at the crossroads itself, and feel terrified.
A shaft of light from the setting sun shoots out, and touches a
crumbling status of a kind with beauty, showing that ugliness can't
always conquer, then the sun sinks, night falls, and we end our
chapter.

Michelle
Flutist

--
Drift on a river, That flows through my arms
Drift as I'm singing to you
I see you smiling, So peaceful and calm
And holding you, I'm smiling, too
Here in my arms, Safe from all harm
Holding you, I'm smiling, too
-- For Xander [9/22/98 - 2/23/99]

Christopher Kreuzer

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Nov 2, 2004, 2:55:20 AM11/2/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week, Book Four, Chapter Seven, "Journey to the Cross-
> roads"

<snip most of summary>

Thanks, Michelle, nice summary.

> Another geography section. I hate geography sections, I get lost
> in closets.

LOL!

I liked your comments about the geography. That was something I noticed
too when I reread the chapter recently. I found that I didn't really
pick up on the geography when I first read the books, but lately
(probably because I have had to do some map-reading over the last few
years) I understand the geographical descriptions a bit better.

> The next paragraph includes, "As if to mark his disregard for all
> such courtesy, Gollum was scrabbling in the mould at the foot of a
> tree."
>
> That seems an extremely harsh judgement for someone now shown any
> courtesy -- mercy, yes, courtesy, most assuredly not! -- himself. I
> think in those circumstances, I might be tempted to be a bit ruder
> than normal myself!

I didn't pick up on Gollum's mood and the discourtesy shown to him. I
think you brought that out very nicely, with the contrast to Faramir and
Frodo's polite speeches.

> The Men and Hobbits exchange bows and embraces, and the Men vanish,
> "The forest were Faramir had stood seemed empty and drear, as if a
> dream had passed." Seems very reminiscent of the hiding of Lorien as
> they passed away from that land, as well.

Ooh! Yes! I am also reminded of the farewell from Rivendell by the words
of Faramir (here) and Elrond (in Rivendell):

"He embraced the hobbits then, after the manner of his people, stooping,
and placing his hands upon their shoulders, and kissing their foreheads.
'Go with the good will of all good men!' he said." (Faramir's farewell
to the hobbits, Journey to the Crossroads)

"But go now with good hearts! Farewell, and may the blessing of Elves
and Men and all Free Folk go with you. May the stars shine upon your
faces!" (Elrond saying farewell to the Fellowship, The Ring Goes South)

"'We have come to bid you our last farewell,' she said, 'and to speed
you with blessings from our land.'" (Galadriel saying farewell to the
remaining members of the Fellowship, though she does then hand out gifts
and sing a lot, Farewell to Lorien)

> Sam wakes up to find the unnatural darkness complete, and some odd
> thunderings and ground tremblings going on. What's happening?

The sense of a brooding silence before the storm is very strong, as you
said. I think the vapours and ground rumblings are the eruption of Mount
Doom to produce the darkness that covers the lands for the next few
days. It is well known that birds and animals sometimes flee the land
around a volcano just before it erupts, hence the silence.

Christopher

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

Michele Fry

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Nov 2, 2004, 3:10:30 AM11/2/04
to
In article <I3Hhd.4668$up1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Christopher
Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes

Michelle Haines writes:

>> Sam wakes up to find the unnatural darkness complete, and some odd
>> thunderings and ground tremblings going on. What's happening?

And Christopher Kreuzer comments:

>The sense of a brooding silence before the storm is very strong, as you
>said. I think the vapours and ground rumblings are the eruption of Mount
>Doom to produce the darkness that covers the lands for the next few
>days. It is well known that birds and animals sometimes flee the land
>around a volcano just before it erupts, hence the silence.

Yes this is a startling contrast to the preparations before a battle -
thinking of the Battle of the Somme, in which Tolkien was involved - for
a few days before the start of the battle (which began on July 1, 1916),
the enemy lines were subjected to artillery bombardment, so that in that
case, there was no calm before the storm as there is a calm here (and as
Christopher notes, as there is a similar calm before a volcanic
eruption). When the artillery bombardments did pause, the silence was
uncanny - as in fact it is here - and even seemed deafening because the
soldiers had become used to the appalling noise.

Michele
==
"When ideas fail, words come in very handy." - Goethe
==
Now reading: The Fellowship of the Ring - J R R Tolkien
The Return of the Shadow (HoME vol. 6) - Christopher Tolkien
==
Counter-Attack (WW1) web site: http://www.sassoonery.demon.co.uk

aelfwina

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Nov 2, 2004, 9:36:51 AM11/2/04
to

"Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@nanc.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1bf0bd53b...@news.starband.net...

> Chapter of the Week, Book Four, Chapter Seven, "Journey to the Cross-
> roads"
>
> Frodo and Sam return to bed, just to rest for a little bit. After a
> while, they're roused to have breakfast with Faramir, who has not
> slept since he appeared on the scene. Some stamina on that guy.

LOL! Perhaps more of the seemingly superhuman qualities of Numenorean blood.
Think of Aragorn's stamina on the chase across Rohan.


>
> After breakfast, Faramir (in his courtly and stately speech that is
> really quite lovely), informs the Hobbits that he has filled their
> packs with food, then gives them information on where to find water.
> Plenty in Ithilien, he says, but don't drink anything that flows out
> from Imlad Morgul. I wonder if he really stopped to think about
> whether they could get across Imlad Morgul with no water sources to
> refill at?

I always worried about this bit of advice as well. But perhaps he knew of
sources of water that flowed *into* the valley?
>
(snip)

> Faramir's final gift is two walking staves, resized for Hobbits, made
> of lebethron. Any significance to this tree besides what is
> mentioned? And here we have again the issue of men and spells,
> because he utters his words "A virtue has been set upon them of
> finding and returning." I'll leave you folks to battle it out as you
> will.

I wonder if JRRT originally had more plans for these staves, and was then
forced to abandon them due to the exigencies of the plot? Any hints in
HoME?


>
> Frodo says goodbye in his stately and polite way, as is his habit:
> "Most gracious host, it was said to be by Elrond Halfelven that I
> should find friendship upon the way, secret and unlooked for.
> Certainly I looked for no such friendship as you have shown. To
> have found it turns evil to great good."
>
> So polite, these gentlemen!

Bilbo raised Frodo right!


>
> It's finally time to actually leave (Middle-Earth departures always
> seem rather prolonged), and Gollum is dragged out of some hidey-hole
> in which he was being kept. You can make a certain argument here
> that Gollum is being treated as less than human by the Hobbits and
> the Men. Presumably they fed him, and perhaps he should have been
> jailed because of his dangerous nature, but he gets no real formal
> farewell, no farewell gifts or anything. Even given they didn't
> trust him, and even accepting the blindfolding behavior, his
> exclusion from the rights of hospitality gives him more a default
> status as a Creature of the Dark than you'd think they'd give to
> someone participating in such an important mission for the light.

I believe that Gollum's whole appearance and behaviour were against him.
I'm sure that Faramir and his men thought of him as little better than an
Orc. Whether or not this should have made a difference in their treatment
of him is another question, but if Frodo made no objection, I think they
would not have done otherwise. And Frodo may have felt that to object would
have been pushing his luck--he'd done well to get Gollum out of the pool
alive at all.


>
> So, Faramir releases Frodo and Sam from the mandatory blindfolding,
> but not Gollum, but Frodo suggests they blindfold all three anyway so
> as not to panic Gollum.

This is another reminder of Lorien, where Gimli objects to the blindfold,
and it results in the entire Fellowship being blindfolded.

(snip of geographical quotation)

> As we will shortly see, "the beginning of their journey" was less
> than a day, and the false peace didn't last very long.
>
> The Men and Hobbits exchange bows and embraces, and the Men vanish,
> "The forest were Faramir had stood seemed empty and drear, as if a
> dream had passed." Seems very reminiscent of the hiding of Lorien as
> they passed away from that land, as well.

Yes, there are more comparisons between the two than I had thought of
before.


>
> The next paragraph includes, "As if to mark his disregard for all
> such courtesy, Gollum was scrabbling in the mould at the foot of a
> tree."
>
> That seems an extremely harsh judgement for someone now shown any
> courtesy -- mercy, yes, courtesy, most assuredly not! -- himself. I
> think in those circumstances, I might be tempted to be a bit ruder
> than normal myself!

Although truth be told, this seems to be normal behaviour for Gollum. He's
rather nasty and rude at the best of times.

>
> I think the verbal exchange between Frodo and Gollum here shows a
> significant amount of buried rage on Gollum's part, and a resentment
> that Frodo would not defend Gollum's side in any way, which is why in
> answer to Frodo's rebuke, Gollum becomes quite obsequious. I think
> we see a further sign is his resentment and anger when while they
> stop twice and the Hobbits eat, and despite the fact they now have
> food he can certainly share, when they eat Gollum doesn't. When they
> Hobbits bed down for the night, Gollum vanishes for the entire time,
> and Sam is extremely uneasy about it. Gollum returns at first light,
> snipping at them to get a move on.

Perhaps Gollum is deliberately working himself up to doing what he has
planned to do all along.

>
> For this day of travel, the air ominously becomes heavier, and the
> silence deeper. Again, back to the horror movie moments. Gollum
> because extremely nervous about walking in any open spaces. `
>
> Another geography section. I hate geography sections, I get lost in
> closets.

LOL! I seldom even try to figure out the geography as long as they seem to
be moving in a logical direction.

>
> As night falls, they come to the edge of a valley. The woods start
> again on the other side of it. On their right, presumably as they
> face south, are the Mountains of Gondor. To the left are the walls
> of Mordor, and the valley starts in that direction, falling steeply
> and getting wider as it heads to join with the Anduin. There is a
> stream in the bottom of the valley. A road comes down from the top
> of the valley on their side, from Minus Morgul to Osgiliath,
> apparently. The text just says "the ruined city by the shores of the
> River". Gollum gripes at the danger of their position and how the
> advice of Faramir was incorrect, and says they must turn East now,
> but stay off the road.

I'm wondering here about what Gollum was getting at. It doesn't seem to me
that it would have made that much difference.

>
> Frodo mentally ruminates on how menacing the land seems to him: the
> road appears lonely and forsaken, the sound of the water seems cold
> and cruel, the water is polluted, and he feels like unseen evil is
> passing on the road. Your heart has to go out to him at this moment,
> feeling so small and vulnerable no doubt that even the sound of water
> seems against him, but it's only a taste of the isolation and horror
> that is coming.

My heart breaks for him. I often find this section of the book difficult to
read, and sometimes skim a lot of the Mordor stuff; the angst is so high,
and it only increases from here on out.

>
> Frodo asks Gollum where they should hide for the night, to be told
> that it's time to switch back to nighttime travel, but Sam interjects
> they need at least a couple hours of sleep first. Gollum refuses to
> remain on the ground near the road, so the three of them crawl up
> into a tree to sleep. That just CAN'T be comfortable. Also, we know
> from Lorien how Hobbits feel about sleeping in heights of any kind,
> and they don't even have a floor or a screen this time. Gollum
> immediately drops off to sleep, but the Hobbits don't even close
> their eyes. So, they have to move on to night travelling without any
> real rest even after Sam's complaining. They start the eastward
> journey, with the last becoming more and more difficult to navigate,
> especially in the very dark night.

You know, I had completely forgotten about their sleeping in a tree here!
Amazing.

(snip more geography)

> Vapours start rising out of the East, and Gollum soon disappears
> again, sniffing and muttering. Sam falls asleep and is dreaming of
> Bag End being disorganized and weedy and that he can't find his pipe.
> The pipe seems simple enough, longing for basic comforts, but is the
> rest prophetic at all? What's going on in the Shire right now?

The Tale of Years doesn't mention any of what is happening there, but we can
guess: Lotho is consolidating his grip on the Shire, and the ruffians are
probably increasing their depradations.

>
> Sam wakes up to find the unnatural darkness complete, and some odd
> thunderings and ground tremblings going on. What's happening? Sam
> snarks about Gollum's uselessness, and Frodo gently corrects him.

Of course the irony is that both of them are correct: Gollum is worse than
useless--he's treacherous, but he has also his part to play, and has been of
some use to them before.

> It's Frodo's turn to eat and sleep, and he talks in his sleep a bit,
> something about Gandalf.

Gandalf is in Minas Tirith at this time; perhaps he has sent his thought in
search of Frodo? Or maybe Frodo is just having wishful dreams.


>
> Gollum comes back in a panic, or perhaps extremely excited, Wake up,
> no time to lose, get a move on! He's extremely frantic, and not
> willing to be servile at all about it. Sam is (say it with me now,
> children) suspicious. They all move along very quickly, but as
> quietly as possible. Good thing Hobbits are good at that, and they
> have the aid of the cloaks.

Of course, obviously Gollum has been making the final arrangements with
Shelob; but I've always wondered why he was so panicky about it.


>
> They go down from their hiding place on the hill, then as straight a
> path south as possible, until they come to a belt of trees, extremely
> old and tall. You almost get a feeling like they're an old tower
> from the mood of the text. A living tower, obviously.
>
> Gollum finally begins to speak and one of the thing he says is: "This
> is the only way, No paths beyond the road. No paths. We must go to
> the Cross-roads. But make haste! Be silent!"
>
> Being a geography moron who regularly gets lost in my closet. Eh?
> Do the roads cross in some sort of canyons? Someone explain! I'm
> confused.

Sorry! I'm just as confused as you are, LOL!


>
> They creep down, stand at the crossroads itself, and feel terrified.
> A shaft of light from the setting sun shoots out, and touches a
> crumbling status of a kind with beauty, showing that ugliness can't
> always conquer, then the sun sinks, night falls, and we end our
> chapter.

I have always loved the description of the king with his crown of flowers.
It was so touching that Frodo could see something of hope once more before
he ascends into the darkness of Cirith Ungol.

Very good summary, by the way!

Barbara

Christopher Kreuzer

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Nov 2, 2004, 4:29:21 PM11/2/04
to
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
> "Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:

[Journey to the Crossroads]

>> Gollum comes back in a panic, or perhaps extremely excited, Wake up,
>> no time to lose, get a move on! He's extremely frantic, and not
>> willing to be servile at all about it. Sam is (say it with me now,
>> children) suspicious. They all move along very quickly, but as
>> quietly as possible. Good thing Hobbits are good at that, and they
>> have the aid of the cloaks.
>
> Of course, obviously Gollum has been making the final arrangements
> with Shelob; but I've always wondered why he was so panicky about it.

I get the impression that he makes the arrangements later (there are
other moments where he disappears later on). I always thought he was
just scouting ahead here, and wanted to get onto the Stairs while the
Morgul Vale was still deserted. You may be right though. We need another
timeline here!

>> Being a geography moron who regularly gets lost in my closet. Eh?
>> Do the roads cross in some sort of canyons? Someone explain! I'm
>> confused.
>
> Sorry! I'm just as confused as you are, LOL!

I'm tempted to try a rewrite and expand the description, but what is
really needed is for someone to draw what they think a map would look
like, with contour lines and everything. Fonstad's Atlas of ME doesn't
show what is before the Crossroads, but Strachey's Journeys of Frodo
does. That map is good, but doesn't give a feel for the precipitous
changes in altitude, from the misty lowlands of Anduin to the sheer
heights of the Mountains of Shadow.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Nov 2, 2004, 7:39:15 PM11/2/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week, Book Four, Chapter Seven, "Journey to the Cross-
> roads"

I said I'd try and describe the geography of the journey, so here goes!
I've just checked, and what I've written agrees with Strachey's
'Journeys of Frodo', so that hopefully means I've got something right!

> Faramir then gives Frodo some geography advice.

> "Go straight on, for thus you will have the cover of the woodland for
> many miles. On your west is an edge where the land falls into the


> great vales, sometimes suddenly and sheer, sometimes in long
> hillsides. Keep near to this edge and the skirts of the forest."

It is best to look at the map at the back of the book to follow the
journey properly. The hobbits are somewhere in North Ithilien, a journey
of a day or more north of Minas Morgul.

Looking at the geography we see that North Ithilien is a narrow land
between the River Anduin to the west, and Mountains of Shadow to the
east. The low point is the River Anduin, and the land ascends steadily
as you move eastwards (sometimes steeply, sometimes gently) from the
river to the peaks of the Mountains of Shadow. We hear descriptions of
mist in the deep vale of the Anduin, and later we hear that the peaks of
the Ephel Duath (Mountains of Shadow) are barren and black. In between
there are the trees of the fair green land of Ithilien, with many rivers
and streams running westwards from the mountains to the river.

The hobbits appear to be walking along a fairly flat bit among the trees
of a forest. They are heading southwards with the vale of Anduin to
their right and the mountains to their left. Also to their left, beyond
or in the forest, is the remains of the old road they had previously
been following from the Black Gate. They are now to the west of this
road, walking parallel to it but at the western edge of the forest. They
are also walking parallel to the river and the mountains. Eventually the
trees die out and they are walking between groups of trees.

> As night falls, they come to the edge of a valley. The woods start
> again on the other side of it. On their right, presumably as they
> face south, are the Mountains of Gondor. To the left are the walls
> of Mordor, and the valley starts in that direction, falling steeply
> and getting wider as it heads to join with the Anduin.

This is an east-west valley that is cutting directly across
(perpendicular) to their southwards route. It is where a river (now a
stream) has carved a deep valley in the land as it flows west from the
Mountains of Shadow to the River Anduin. If the hobbits turn and look
east (to their left) they are looking up this valley towards Minas
Morgul, and this is the direction they must take.

> There is a
> stream in the bottom of the valley. A road comes down from the top
> of the valley on their side, from Minus Morgul to Osgiliath,
> apparently. The text just says "the ruined city by the shores of the
> River".

That would be the ruins of Osgiliath, yes.

> Gollum gripes at the danger of their position and how the
> advice of Faramir was incorrect, and says they must turn East now,

> but stay off the road. [...] They start the eastward


> journey, with the last becoming more and more difficult to navigate,
> especially in the very dark night.

They actually retreat from the edge of the valley back into the trees,
turning back on themselves and heading back north and east for a bit,
and rest until after midnight. Then they continue eastwards, now
travelling parallel to the valley of Minas Morgul (to their right) and
heading towards the mountains. The land is now overall rising steadily,
even though they go up and down over hills.

> They climb a hog-back (a common name for certain types of hill here
> in the American West, too, which I hadn't heard of until my husband
> mentioned it years ago), and start to look about for shelter to sleep
> during the day.

<snip>

This place where they shelter has brought them far enough eastwards that
a shoulder of the mountains is now _between_ them and the Morgul Vale.
As they look east, they see the mountains, but as they look south they
see this shoulder of the moutains cutting off their southward route back
into the Morgul Vale. They will also still be high above the floor of
the Vale (though that too will have risen as we move eastwards), but
won't see it until they go around this shoulder of the mountains, and
that is _after_ the Crossroads.

> They go down from their hiding place on the hill, then as straight a
> path south as possible,

<snip>

> Gollum finally begins to speak and one of the thing he says is: "This
> is the only way, No paths beyond the road. No paths. We must go to
> the Cross-roads. But make haste! Be silent!"
>
> Being a geography moron who regularly gets lost in my closet. Eh?
> Do the roads cross in some sort of canyons? Someone explain! I'm
> confused.

It isn't totally clear, I agree.

They are high up on the slopes of the mountains. I guess that off the
road is broken, tumbled and steep terrain, or just mountains. The roads
are the only way through, meeting at a crossroads (surrounded by trees)
at a kind of pass. They could have descended into the Morgul Vale
further to the west and taken the ascending road eastwards from
Osgiliath, but that was too dangerous. Instead, they are scrambling
around above the valley trying to find the Crossroads (being guided by
Gollum). They negotiate a hill or two and suddenly find the Southward
Road. This is the road that comes from the Black Gate a long way north.
Here, its path is very close to the mountains, high up on the slopes,
and it meets the road from Osgiliath that has _climbed_ to meet it,
coming up the northern side of the Morgul Vale. I would guess that on
the left side of the road after the Crossroads is a sheer mountain wall,
and on the right side a cliff dropping off into the Morgul Vale. This is
made clearer in the next chapter after they go round this shoulder of
the mountains that is obscuring their view of Minas Morgul.

Emma Pease

unread,
Nov 3, 2004, 10:33:04 AM11/3/04
to
In article <R_Shd.5280$up1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>> "Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:
>
> [Journey to the Crossroads]
>
>>> Gollum comes back in a panic, or perhaps extremely excited, Wake up,
>>> no time to lose, get a move on! He's extremely frantic, and not
>>> willing to be servile at all about it. Sam is (say it with me now,
>>> children) suspicious. They all move along very quickly, but as
>>> quietly as possible. Good thing Hobbits are good at that, and they
>>> have the aid of the cloaks.
>>
>> Of course, obviously Gollum has been making the final arrangements
>> with Shelob; but I've always wondered why he was so panicky about it.
>
> I get the impression that he makes the arrangements later (there are
> other moments where he disappears later on). I always thought he was
> just scouting ahead here, and wanted to get onto the Stairs while the
> Morgul Vale was still deserted. You may be right though. We need another
> timeline here!

A bit rough and I haven't double check it but

Mar 5
- morning, Grima reaches Isengard
- just after noon, Theoden's party reaches Isengard, Merry and Pippin rejoin
- Afternoon, parley with Saruman, Palantir gotten
- night, camp on the way back. Pippin looks into the Palantir, Nazgul
sighted heading to Isengard. Gandalf and Pippin head off. Theoden's
party breaks camp

- dawn, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum reach the Black Gate, see 4 Nazgul
- night 5/6, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum travel south

Mar 6
- pre-dawn, Theoden's Party overtaken by the Dunedain looking for Aragorn
- Early morning, Gandalf and Pippin reach Edoras
- Theoden's party gets to Helms Deep
- Aragorn uses the Palantir
- Theoden's party sets out for Harrowdale by hill paths. Merry goes
with them
- Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and the Dunedain head over the plains to
Harrowdale

- night 6/7, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum travel south, reach Ithilien proper

Mar 7
- night fall, Aragorn's party reaches Dunharrow, stays overnight

- night, beacons lit (sighted by Pippin and Gandalf also errand
riders meet). Is this the night of 7/8 or 8/9?

- morning, Sam cooks rabbit caught by Gollum
- morning, Frodo taken by Faramir
- noon, Battle between Faramir's men and the Haradrim
- late afternoon, Faramir takes Frodo and Sam to Henneth Annun
- night 7/8, Henneth Annun

Mar 8
- Full moon
- dawn, Aragorn takes the Paths of the Dead
- 2 hrs before sunset, Aragorn leaves the Paths of the Dead
- midnight, Aragorn reaches Erech

- morning, Faramir sends Frodo, Sam, and Gollum south
- they travel south during the day
- night 8/9, Frodo and Sam sleep


Mar 9
- Dawn, Gandalf and Pippin reach Minas Tirith
- morning, questioned by Denethor, Pippin takes service
- late morning, Pippin meets Beregond,
- afternoon, Pippin meets Bergil, watches the arrival of the forces of
Gondor.

- Sunset, Theoden reaches Dunharrow
- night, Hirgon arrives at Dunharrow and talks to Theoden

- Aragorn reaches Calembel

- Frodo and Sam walk south, stifling, heavy air
- Afternoon, they reach the road from Imlad Morgul
- midnight 9/10, they head east

Mar 10
- Dawnless day

- Theoden heads east

- evening, Faramir returns to Minas Tirith

- Frodo and Sam rest during part of the day
- sunset, Frodo and Sam reach the crossroads


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

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Nov 3, 2004, 4:29:53 PM11/3/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:
> Frodo and Sam return to bed, just to rest for a little bit. After a
> while, they're roused to have breakfast with Faramir, who has not
> slept since he appeared on the scene. Some stamina on that guy.

In my last two times of re-reading LOTR from cover to cover
(once about 8 years ago, and once just this summer/fall), I was
struck by how much emphasis there is on sleep, lack of sleep,
sleep deprivation, miraculously being able to get a good sleep
even where you think you won't be able to, and so on. It seems
that Tolkien was very familiar with all these issues. I probably
noticed it recently because I too have (unfortunately) become
more familiar with them.

> Faramir's final gift is two walking staves, resized for Hobbits, made
> of lebethron. Any significance to this tree besides what is
> mentioned?

I looked it up in the index when I got to this passage, and
it seems that the only other place it is mentioned is where it
is said that the box that the Crown of Gondor was kept in was
made of black lebethron. Now, is he saying here that lebethron
was *always* black, and just pointing out the colour for readers
that didn't know that, or are there different varieties of
lebethron, some black and some non-black? And is lebethron
anything like ebony? Ebony is very hard and would be an
appropriate material for walking-sticks (and important boxes).

> And here we have again the issue of men and spells,
> because he utters his words "A virtue has been set upon them of
> finding and returning." I'll leave you folks to battle it out as you
> will.

My theory (story-external) is that Tolkien had something
planned for the staves, but then never got around to it, or
forgot about it. AFAICT they are never mentioned again, except
when Sam cracks his in half across Gollum's back while Shelob is
making her Frodo burrito.

> They creep down, stand at the crossroads itself, and feel terrified.
> A shaft of light from the setting sun shoots out, and touches a
> crumbling status of a kind with beauty, showing that ugliness can't
> always conquer, then the sun sinks, night falls, and we end our
> chapter.

The passage with the fallen head of the statue of the king
is one that I always cite when people complain that there is no
"good writing" in LOTR. By which they seem to mean ... well, I
don't know what they mean exactly, but this passage ranks with
the best of any other "serious" novelist I've read.

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

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 3, 2004, 5:47:52 PM11/3/04
to
Jamie Andrews wrote:

> In my last two times of re-reading LOTR from cover to cover
> (once about 8 years ago, and once just this summer/fall), I was
> struck by how much emphasis there is on sleep, lack of sleep,
> sleep deprivation, miraculously being able to get a good sleep
> even where you think you won't be able to, and so on. It seems
> that Tolkien was very familiar with all these issues.

Just possibly a recognition that in wartime, especially in the trenches
of WW1, sleep can be a haphazard affair, or indeed at any time of great
stress and activity?

> Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:
>> Faramir's final gift is two walking staves, resized for Hobbits, made
>> of lebethron. Any significance to this tree besides what is
>> mentioned?
>
> I looked it up in the index when I got to this passage, and
> it seems that the only other place it is mentioned is where it
> is said that the box that the Crown of Gondor was kept in was
> made of black lebethron. Now, is he saying here that lebethron
> was *always* black, and just pointing out the colour for readers
> that didn't know that, or are there different varieties of
> lebethron, some black and some non-black? And is lebethron
> anything like ebony? Ebony is very hard and would be an
> appropriate material for walking-sticks (and important boxes).

Not sure. I wonder if the 'lebe-' bit of lebethron is the same as the
first bit of Lebenin, and if the name lebethron means something?

It is a lovely passage:

"Suddenly, caught by the level beams, Frodo saw the old king's head
[...]The eyes were hollow and the carven beard was broken, but about the
high stern forehead there was a coronal of silver and gold. A trailing
plant with flowers like small white stars had bound itself across the
brows as if in reverence for the fallen king, and in the crevices of his
stony hair yellow stonecrop gleamed.
'They cannot conquer for ever!' said Frodo. And then suddenly the brief
glimpse was gone. The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the
shuttering of a lamp, black night fell."

The flowers like stars on the brow of the king resonates with other
images of kings with stars on their brow, particularly at the crowning
of Aragorn, when the crown is described thus: "...seven gems of adamant
were set in the circlet..."

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 4, 2004, 1:22:12 AM11/4/04
to
In article <2ut0uhF...@uni-berlin.de>, Jamie Andrews; real address
@ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> writes

>> Frodo and Sam return to bed, just to rest for a little bit. After a
>> while, they're roused to have breakfast with Faramir, who has not
>> slept since he appeared on the scene. Some stamina on that guy.
>
> In my last two times of re-reading LOTR from cover to cover
>(once about 8 years ago, and once just this summer/fall), I was
>struck by how much emphasis there is on sleep, lack of sleep,
>sleep deprivation, miraculously being able to get a good sleep
>even where you think you won't be able to, and so on. It seems
>that Tolkien was very familiar with all these issues. I probably
>noticed it recently because I too have (unfortunately) become
>more familiar with them.

Tolkien would have been very familiar with these issues from his time
spent serving on the Western Front during the First World War (FWW) -
for soldiers out in the trenches a good night's sleep was indeed a
boon/miracle. They mostly slept in tiny, very uncomfortable (non-Hobbit-
like) holes in the ground that were wet, lice infected, and muddy. The
lice were a real problem - Tolkien developed "trench fever" as a
consequence of sleeping in lice-infested holes and spent the next 2
years (from October 1916) trying to shake it off. Fortunately for
fantasy literature, he failed to do so, so he remained in England in and
out of hospitals and when he was well enough, writing the early
mythology material. Aside from the uncomfortable places in which they
often had to try to sleep, there was also the issue of artillery
bombardments that often went on at night as well as during the day - and
the more general fact of overcrowding - the Germans built their trenches
as if they planned to stay indefinitely so their "funk holes" (dugouts)
were more Hobbit-like in terms of comfort (although definitely no
windows) than ours. We Brits, on the other hand, assumed we'd be taking
over the German lines PDQ and didn't bother digging in, so our trenches
were often packed tight with men, and anyone who's tried sleeping on a
densely packed subway train, will know it's not easy and to do so might
well seem miraculous !

You'll find more on Tolkien's FWW experience in John Garth's excellent
"Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth".

robert j. kolker

unread,
Nov 4, 2004, 4:01:04 AM11/4/04
to

Michele Fry wrote:

>
> Tolkien would have been very familiar with these issues from his time
> spent serving on the Western Front during the First World War (FWW) -

In Tolkien's day it was called the Great War. No one ever expected
another and worse war.

Bob Kolker


Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Nov 4, 2004, 8:51:44 AM11/4/04
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> Jamie Andrews wrote:
>> Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:

>>> Faramir's final gift is two walking staves, resized for Hobbits,
>>> made of lebethron. Any significance to this tree besides what is
>>> mentioned?

>> I looked it up in the index when I got to this passage, and it
>> seems that the only other place it is mentioned is where it is said
>> that the box that the Crown of Gondor was kept in was made of black
>> lebethron. Now, is he saying here that lebethron was *always*
>> black, and just pointing out the colour for readers that didn't
>> know that, or are there different varieties of lebethron, some
>> black and some non-black?

Could be either, I'd say.

>> And is lebethron anything like ebony?

I picture it as a very hard wood.

> Not sure. I wonder if the 'lebe-' bit of lebethron is the same as the
> first bit of Lebenin, and if the name lebethron means something?

The Etymologies have Ilk. thron 'stiff, hard' under *STARAN. That
certainly fits. There's also *LEB 'stay, stick, adhere, remain, tarry',
but I am not sure what to make out of that. Might not be related
at all.

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Nov 4, 2004, 9:02:37 AM11/4/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:
> Another geography section. I hate geography sections, I get lost in
> closets.

I don't know at what age you have read LotR first, but if you have
read it as a child (as many do), weren't you fascinated by the maps?
I think many kids are: Maps, especially ones with secret letters on
them, or treasure maps, are "thrilling" in a way. At least they were
to me. And when you follow the geographical descriptions on the map,
they suddenly become a lot easier to understand. That's still true for
me today: If I just listen to someone describing some way for me, it's
a meaningless stream of words I can never remember. If I translate
that into a visual representation, it becomes a lot easier.

And the maps are really one of the more prominent features of the
LotR: Every self-respecting fantasy book after Tolkien just has to
include one map, at least :-) Shippey also has an interesting
section on the 'cartographic plot' in 'The Road to ME'.

- Dirk

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 4, 2004, 12:56:51 PM11/4/04
to
In article <kdmid.44172$HA.8691@attbi_s01>, robert j. kolker
<now...@nowhere.com> writes

>In Tolkien's day it was called the Great War. No one ever expected
>another and worse war.

Yes I know - and they expected it to all be over by Xmas 1914 (British
politicians have been repeating a variation of this line with regard to
our troops who've gone to bail out the Americans in Iraq - thankfully no
one here believes this !) It was called the War to End all Wars... Alas!
How wrong they were...

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 4, 2004, 5:06:03 PM11/4/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

[lebethron]

>> Not sure. I wonder if the 'lebe-' bit of lebethron is the same as the
>> first bit of Lebenin, and if the name lebethron means something?
>
> The Etymologies have Ilk. thron 'stiff, hard' under *STARAN. That
> certainly fits. There's also *LEB 'stay, stick, adhere, remain,
> tarry', but I am not sure what to make out of that. Might not be
> related at all.

Well, it might be easier to cast a spell of returning on a wood that
wants to tarry or remain somewhere? Maybe the tree was named for a
sticky bark or something?

John Jones

unread,
Nov 5, 2004, 1:42:27 PM11/5/04
to
"Michele Fry" <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:EtzkuZAj...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk...

> In article <kdmid.44172$HA.8691@attbi_s01>, robert j. kolker
> <now...@nowhere.com> writes
>
> >In Tolkien's day it was called the Great War. No one ever expected
> >another and worse war.
>
> Yes I know - and they expected it to all be over by Xmas 1914 (British
> politicians have been repeating a variation of this line with regard to
> our troops who've gone to bail out the Americans in Iraq - thankfully no
> one here believes this !) It was called the War to End all Wars... Alas!
> How wrong they were...

Amen ... on the other hand, there hasn't been a worse war. I once read that
you will find about three times as many names in the 1914-18 section of any
war memorial in England as in the 1939 - 45 section. I checked this, and it
is true, even though the Great War lasted only four years instead if six for
WW2. Even the smallest hamlet has its dreadful list.

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 6, 2004, 2:18:07 PM11/6/04
to
In article <cmj2ib$kj7$1...@newsg4.svr.pol.co.uk>, John Jones
<jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> writes

>Amen ... on the other hand, there hasn't been a worse war.

Thankfully that's true...

> I once read that
>you will find about three times as many names in the 1914-18 section of any
>war memorial in England as in the 1939 - 45 section. I checked this, and it
>is true, even though the Great War lasted only four years instead if six for
>WW2. Even the smallest hamlet has its dreadful list.

Actually I'd put the percentage higher - I've looked at (studied even)
dozens of memorials, and there are usually 5 or 6 times as many names in
the FWW section compared to the SWW section in my personal experience.
There's a village not far from my parents' home town which features
about 8 names for the SWW, and around 50 names for the FWW - and it
wasn't a big village in the early part of the 20th century... Mind you,
I personally feel that even one name is one too many... I often feel
fairly depressed about the continuing armed conflicts despite the amount
of "progress" we're supposed to have made. And I wonder if the dead of
the FWW are spinning in their graves...

Sorry, feeling quite melancholic about this - it being only a few days
until Armistice Day...

Michele
==
"When ideas fail, words come in very handy." - Goethe
==

Now reading: The Two Towers - J R R Tolkien
The Treason of Isengard (HoME vol. 7) - Christopher Tolkien
==
Counter-Attack (FWW) web site: http://www.sassoonery.demon.co.uk

Shanahan

unread,
Nov 6, 2004, 10:29:50 PM11/6/04
to
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> creatively typed:

> "Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@nanc.com> wrote in message
> > Chapter of the Week, Book Four, Chapter Seven, "Journey to the
> > Cross- roads"

<snip>


> > where to find water. Plenty in Ithilien, he says, but don't
> > drink anything that flows out from Imlad Morgul. I wonder if
> > he really stopped to think about whether they could get across
> > Imlad Morgul with no water sources to refill at?
>
> I always worried about this bit of advice as well. But perhaps
> he knew of sources of water that flowed *into* the valley?

It strikes me that this is part of the preoccupation with survival
that is dominant from here on out. Jamie points out the numerous
references to sleep, and how devastating the lack of it is. The
same is true of water and food -- from now on, Sam and Frodo will
be starved of them. They're walking into the land of death, and
the needs of life cannot be met there.

> > Faramir's final gift is two walking staves, resized for
> > Hobbits, made of lebethron. Any significance to this tree
> > besides what is mentioned? And here we have again the issue of
> > men and spells, because he utters his words "A virtue has been
> > set upon them of finding and returning." I'll leave you folks
> > to battle it out as you will.
>
> I wonder if JRRT originally had more plans for these staves, and
> was then forced to abandon them due to the exigencies of the
> plot? Any hints in HoME?

Oddly enough, I've just been reading this part of /The War of the
Ring/, and the staves are actually kind of important! Tolkien had
to decide whether or not to put them in at all, when he was writing
the Shelob's tunnel sequence. These chapters went through a lot of
changes; early versions have two tunnels with stairs in between,
gangs of orcs led by Gollum, mobs of spider-creatures, and no
Shelob! At any rate, once the single spider-monster was settled
upon and T. was writing the part in the tunnels and the pass, he
ran into the problem of Frodo and Sam not having enough hands to
hold all their stuff (swords, staffs, phial) and still actually
*do* things.

So Tolkien put the staves on thongs, giving Frodo a hand free to
hold the phial and Sting when he confronts Shelob. Sam's staff
breaks across Gollum's back, giving *him* a chance to juggle both
sword and phial, a little later. (The earlier versions of the
staves were shaped like shepherd's crooks, with no thongs.)

> > I think the verbal exchange between Frodo and Gollum here
> > shows a significant amount of buried rage on Gollum's part,
> > and a resentment that Frodo would not defend Gollum's side in
> > any way, which is why in answer to Frodo's rebuke, Gollum
> > becomes quite obsequious. I think we see a further sign is
> > his resentment and anger when while they stop twice and the
> > Hobbits eat, and despite the fact they now have food he can
> > certainly share, when they eat Gollum doesn't. When they
> > Hobbits bed down for the night, Gollum vanishes for the entire
> > time, and Sam is extremely uneasy about it. Gollum returns at
> > first light, snipping at them to get a move on.
>
> Perhaps Gollum is deliberately working himself up to doing what
> he has planned to do all along.

There are several significant moments in Gollum's decision to
betray Frodo. This is certainly one of them. Gollum has sworn
allegiance to Frodo, and he shows flashes of true affection, even
true allegiance a la Sam. Fear of the bearer of the Precious also
keeps him in line, but all of this is very precarious, as we know.
But what do people think is his actual turning point, when he
decides for certain that he will betray them to Shelob? Is it in
the pit in the Nomenlands, here after Frodo's 'betrayal' at Henneth
Annūn, or the moment in the pass when Sam snaps at him and calls
him a sneak? Michelle points out very astutely that the so-called
'good guys' aren't even treating him as human -- is this what
breaks him?

> > feels like unseen evil is passing on the road. Your heart has
> > to go out to him at this moment, feeling so small and
> > vulnerable no doubt that even the sound of water seems against
> > him, but it's only a taste of the isolation and horror that is
> > coming.
>
> My heart breaks for him. I often find this section of the book
> difficult to read, and sometimes skim a lot of the Mordor stuff;
> the angst is so high, and it only increases from here on out.

Oh, boy, I *love* the angst! I positively drown in it, reading the
text through sobs and smiles and tears. Also going willingly with
the rising dread and tension in the Pippin / Merry storylines -- it
makes the 'eucatastrophic moments' so much more intense.

> Very good summary, by the way!

Seconded. I liked the way it flowed, rather than being broken up
into queries and comments.

Ciaran S.
--
On seeing 'Hamlet' acted in live theatre:
"Could one only have seen it without ever having
read it or knowing the plot, it would have been terrific."
-JRRT, Letter #76


Shanahan

unread,
Nov 6, 2004, 11:10:52 PM11/6/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> creatively typed:

> Michelle J. Haines mha...@nanc.com wrote:

> > Another geography section. I hate geography sections, I get
> > lost in closets.
>
> I don't know at what age you have read LotR first, but if you
> have read it as a child (as many do), weren't you fascinated by
> the maps? I think many kids are: Maps, especially ones with
> secret letters on them, or treasure maps, are "thrilling" in a

> way. At least they were to me. And when you follow the <snip>

I certainly was. I *pored* over the maps, memorizing names,
imagining how everything looked, what it felt like to be there, and
*there*, and *there* -- for me, the maps were one of the things
that made LotR real, not just a story.

> And the maps are really one of the more prominent features of the
> LotR: Every self-respecting fantasy book after Tolkien just has
> to include one map, at least :-) Shippey also has an interesting
> section on the 'cartographic plot' in 'The Road to ME'.

Yum. I'll have to get that! I have /Author of the Century/, but
not /Road/.

Ciaran S.
--
He wears sorrow as others wear velvet.
Tears become him like jewels.


Emma Pease

unread,
Nov 6, 2004, 9:04:27 PM11/6/04
to
In article <9pbFKKAv...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk>, Michele Fry wrote:
> In article <cmj2ib$kj7$1...@newsg4.svr.pol.co.uk>, John Jones
><jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> writes
>
>>Amen ... on the other hand, there hasn't been a worse war.
>
> Thankfully that's true...
>
>> I once read that
>>you will find about three times as many names in the 1914-18 section of any
>>war memorial in England as in the 1939 - 45 section. I checked this, and it
>>is true, even though the Great War lasted only four years instead if six for
>>WW2. Even the smallest hamlet has its dreadful list.
>
> Actually I'd put the percentage higher - I've looked at (studied even)
> dozens of memorials, and there are usually 5 or 6 times as many names in
> the FWW section compared to the SWW section in my personal experience.
> There's a village not far from my parents' home town which features
> about 8 names for the SWW, and around 50 names for the FWW - and it
> wasn't a big village in the early part of the 20th century... Mind you,
> I personally feel that even one name is one too many... I often feel
> fairly depressed about the continuing armed conflicts despite the amount
> of "progress" we're supposed to have made. And I wonder if the dead of
> the FWW are spinning in their graves...

Note that in the Great War a village's young men often signed up for
the same regiment and went to war together so when a group was sent
into no man's land an entire village's young men could be wiped out
very quickly. In the second world war men from the same village were
spread around so no one disaster would wipe out a village's young men.
In addition the generals (for the most part) weren't having their
troops charge in quite the same fashion as before.

> Sorry, feeling quite melancholic about this - it being only a few days
> until Armistice Day...

war to end all wars...

Emma

ps. Remember France got it even worst as a percentage of young men and
I think Australia and New Zealand also.

TeaLady (Mari C.)

unread,
Nov 6, 2004, 11:20:53 PM11/6/04
to
"Shanahan" <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote in
news:cmjqo...@enews3.newsguy.com:

> There are several significant moments in Gollum's decision
> to betray Frodo. This is certainly one of them. Gollum has
> sworn allegiance to Frodo, and he shows flashes of true
> affection, even true allegiance a la Sam. Fear of the
> bearer of the Precious also keeps him in line, but all of
> this is very precarious, as we know. But what do people
> think is his actual turning point, when he decides for
> certain that he will betray them to Shelob? Is it in the
> pit in the Nomenlands, here after Frodo's 'betrayal' at

> Henneth Ann–n, or the moment in the pass when Sam snaps at


> him and calls him a sneak? Michelle points out very
> astutely that the so-called 'good guys' aren't even treating
> him as human -- is this what breaks him?
>

I always thought that, up until the trio reaches the pass,
Gollum still isn't 100% sure he is going to give Frodo over to
Shelob. I am pretty sure he had decided that Sam was going to
"get his", but that he hadn't entirely decided about Frodo. The
Ring is part of the wavering, I think, but there is also the
memory of Frodo treating him almost like an equal.

Frodo's "betrayal" certainly didn't make Gollum think any higher
of him, but I am sure that Gollum half-expected such a thing to
happen at any rate. The icing on this nasty bit of cake was
Frodo's seeming agreement (tacit - by not objecting, he condoned
it) with the treatment Gollum received at the hands of the men,
yes.

Whatever the reasons, it was necessary for ME that Gollum turn
against Frodo - so that in the end, Gollum's insatiable need for
his Precious and hatred of Bagginses allowed the Ring to be
destroyed - at the cost of his own life.

I wonder if Gollum was at all redeemable - could he go to the
Halls of Mandos, and then on to the final fate of men after
death (what ever that was), or ws he, too, doomed to be a wispy
shadow of nastiness and fear, denied his proper ending until the
end of days ? I like to think he wasn't fated to be sundered
from his kin and mankind, but I can see that he may have
suffered a similar refusal as Sauron and Saruman - no traveling
west, young man, you were a very, very bad boy.

--
TeaLady (mari)

"I keep telling you, chew with your mouth closed!" Kell the
coach offers advice on keeping that elusive prey caught.

Larry Swain

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 12:58:35 AM11/7/04
to

"TeaLady (Mari C.)" wrote:
>
>>
> I wonder if Gollum was at all redeemable - could he go to the
> Halls of Mandos, and then on to the final fate of men after
> death (what ever that was), or ws he, too, doomed to be a wispy
> shadow of nastiness and fear, denied his proper ending until the
> end of days ? I like to think he wasn't fated to be sundered
> from his kin and mankind, but I can see that he may have
> suffered a similar refusal as Sauron and Saruman - no traveling
> west, young man, you were a very, very bad boy.

Yes, I believe he was redeemable. For one thing, Tolkien
remarks somewhere that there is no completely evil being in his
work. Second, one of the letters Tolkien's talks about Gollum
and Frodo and how near Gollum was to repentance--even to
possibly sacrificing himself for Frodo--if Sam hadn't woken up
and accused him of being a sneak. I think that in the end
though Gollum, like the Ring, finally had peace--when the Ring
was undone, so was he. Just my view. Unlike Sauron and Saruman
though, Gollum was just a small, nasty hobbit-ancestor, not an
incarnate divine power, like the other two who presumably knew
Eru and were present at the Music's singing.

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 1:42:54 AM11/7/04
to
In article <slrncor0k...@munin.Stanford.EDU>, Emma Pease
<em...@kanpai.stanford.edu> writes

>Note that in the Great War a village's young men often signed up for
>the same regiment and went to war together so when a group was sent
>into no man's land an entire village's young men could be wiped out
>very quickly. In the second world war men from the same village were
>spread around so no one disaster would wipe out a village's young men.
>In addition the generals (for the most part) weren't having their
>troops charge in quite the same fashion as before.

Yes I know all about the Pals Battalions - which in fact were abandoned
before the end of the FWW - largely because there weren't enough young
men left to recruit into a group from one area since the majority of
those of the right age had already been recruited (and often enough
killed) already...

>ps. Remember France got it even worst as a percentage of young men and
>I think Australia and New Zealand also.

Yes... But I wasn't trying to claim British superiority of numbers of
war dead. We were discussing the fact of memorials having more names
from the First than the Second World War, and I was speaking of that
which I knew - ie. British memorials of the two wars, which being a
Brit., are the only ones I've studied and know about in detail. I've
only seen a handful of memorials from other countries (and those have
been photographs interested folks have sent to me) - so I didn't presume
to know or speak of them...

Michele
==
"When ideas fail, words come in very handy." - Goethe
==
Now reading: The Two Towers - J R R Tolkien
The Treason of Isengard (HoME vol. 7) - Christopher Tolkien
==

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 2:18:23 PM11/7/04
to
In article <cmjqo...@enews3.newsguy.com>, pog...@bluefrog.com
says...

> They're walking into the land of death, and
> the needs of life cannot be met there.

What an interesting turn of phrase. I've never thought of it that
way, but it rings true.

> Seconded. I liked the way it flowed, rather than being broken up
> into queries and comments.

*bows* I prefer this format, other prefer the other way. I'm
stubborn enough to do it my way 'cause I want to. :)

Jette Goldie

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 2:23:22 PM11/7/04
to

"Michele Fry" <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote

> Yes... But I wasn't trying to claim British superiority of numbers of
> war dead. We were discussing the fact of memorials having more names
> from the First than the Second World War, and I was speaking of that
> which I knew - ie. British memorials of the two wars, which being a
> Brit., are the only ones I've studied and know about in detail. I've
> only seen a handful of memorials from other countries (and those have
> been photographs interested folks have sent to me) - so I didn't presume
> to know or speak of them...


It's heartbreaking when you see the cemetaries with the row
upon row of white crosses, many with no names, just "soldier
of the Great War", perhaps with their regiment or nationality,
the only identification which could be gotten from their uniforms.


--
"Just when you think
the crying stops
It all begins again
You never stop the hurting
the grieving and the pain"

Jette
je...@blueyonder.co.uk


Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 2:45:47 PM11/7/04
to
In article <KCujd.2960$tV4....@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Jette Goldie
<j...@blueyonder.com.uk> writes

>It's heartbreaking when you see the cemetaries with the row
>upon row of white crosses, many with no names, just "soldier
>of the Great War", perhaps with their regiment or nationality,
>the only identification which could be gotten from their uniforms.

It is - I've only ever seen still photo or film of them, as I've never
yet managed to visit any of the war cemeteries in France, Flanders, or
further afield - but just seeing photos leaves me choked up. I did
several essays on the topic of memorialising the war when I did my
English degree a few years ago (they're on my site if you're interested)
and I had to have tissues to hand sometimes...

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 3:17:41 PM11/7/04
to
In article <2004110414023...@ID-7776.user.dfncis.de>,
dthie...@gmx.de says...

>
> I don't know at what age you have read LotR first, but if you have
> read it as a child (as many do), weren't you fascinated by the maps?

10 or 11, I think, the first time I made it all the way through. I
know I was very familiar with it by the time I was 12, because I was
reading it on an airplane in the sixth grade, and the guy in the seat
next to me was flabbergasted because he had read it as a senior in
high school. :)

Anyway, I was fascinated by the maps, but the maps don't translate
into visuals, and I never flipped from the story to the map, so I
never got a good sense of, "Here during this, here during this."

Jette Goldie

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 3:25:52 PM11/7/04
to

"Michele Fry" <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:asQzeBAr...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk...

> In article <KCujd.2960$tV4....@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Jette Goldie
> <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> writes
>
> >It's heartbreaking when you see the cemetaries with the row
> >upon row of white crosses, many with no names, just "soldier
> >of the Great War", perhaps with their regiment or nationality,
> >the only identification which could be gotten from their uniforms.
>
> It is - I've only ever seen still photo or film of them, as I've never
> yet managed to visit any of the war cemeteries in France, Flanders, or
> further afield - but just seeing photos leaves me choked up. I did
> several essays on the topic of memorialising the war when I did my
> English degree a few years ago (they're on my site if you're interested)
> and I had to have tissues to hand sometimes...


I personally cannot watch things like "Oh What A Lovely
War" without screaming, crying and throwing things at
the screen............ because it didn't End All Wars.

This time of year I get a little maudlin. If I start singing
"No Man's Land", just pour me another beer and sit me
in the corner.


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

"I don't care WHO started it - STOP IT NOW!!"


Jette Goldie

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 4:38:39 PM11/7/04
to

"Michele Fry" <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:asQzeBAr...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk...

> In article <KCujd.2960$tV4....@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Jette Goldie
> <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> writes
>
> >It's heartbreaking when you see the cemetaries with the row
> >upon row of white crosses, many with no names, just "soldier
> >of the Great War", perhaps with their regiment or nationality,
> >the only identification which could be gotten from their uniforms.
>
> It is - I've only ever seen still photo or film of them, as I've never
> yet managed to visit any of the war cemeteries in France, Flanders, or
> further afield - but just seeing photos leaves me choked up. I did
> several essays on the topic of memorialising the war when I did my
> English degree a few years ago (they're on my site if you're interested)
> and I had to have tissues to hand sometimes...


Speaking of which


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3990555.stm


(I live about 500 yards from the Heart of Midlothian stadium)

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 7:57:14 PM11/7/04
to
Jette Goldie <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote:

> It's heartbreaking when you see the cemetaries with the row
> upon row of white crosses, many with no names, just "soldier
> of the Great War", perhaps with their regiment or nationality,
> the only identification which could be gotten from their uniforms.

I managed to visit Arlington National Cemetery when I visited the USA a
few years ago. Seeing the tomb of the Unknown Soldier both there and at
Westminster Abbey (back in London), was very moving.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 8:16:09 PM11/7/04
to
Jette Goldie <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote:

<snip>

> This time of year I get a little maudlin.

The bit that always gets me is the famous quote:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We shall remember them."

(Laurence Binyon, For The Fallen, 1914)

http://oldpoetry.com/author/Laurence%20Binyon

[Is it 'on the sun' or 'of the sun'? Google only gives 8 hits for 'on
the sun', including the Counter-attack [sassoonery] site... The date
Binyon wrote it is also interesting, very early in the war.]

I remember the first time I read this quote in a school library.
It still strikes me as such a dignified and heart-rending epitaph.
And it sums up the feelings of those left to grow old.

And one of those was Tolkien, of course.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 8:23:40 PM11/7/04
to
Michele Fry <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

> Sorry, feeling quite melancholic about this - it being only a few days
> until Armistice Day...

I made a donation to the Poppy Appeal the other day. The collector, an
old woman, was most grateful. She said I was the only one to stop that
morning. Made me feel quite sad.

The coda to this story is that, later that day, I managed to prick my
thumb with the pin used to secure the poppy to my jacket. From this
personal experience, I now have to agree with those who say that using
loose pins (as opposed to a safety pin) is dangerous... I now use a
button hole, at least until the poppy falls out or I can find a safety
pin.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 8:53:52 PM11/7/04
to
John Jones <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

[about WW1 or FWW as some call it...]

> Amen ... on the other hand, there hasn't been a worse war.

WW2 was probably a worse war. If it is worth analysing in terms purely
of numbers that died.

This is the flip side of the coin. After all the poetic stuff and
emotional response, I find myself mawkishly wanting to find lists
comparing numbers killed and wounded in wars, and 'largest' numbers etc.

The important thing to remember is that WW2 was, unlike WW1, a war where
huge numbers of civilians died, and it was also larger in scope than WW1
with many more 'spheres' of action.

This list looks comprehensive for WW2:

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/ww2stats.htm

Some of the figures are shocking beyond belief. Over 26 million in
Russia according to some estimates, and over 9 million Russian soldiers.

Going up a level on that website, we have this:

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstats.htm

First World War: 15 million.
Second World War: 55 million.

Soviet Union (Stalin): 20 million.
China (Mao): 40 million.

Though for some context, remember that over 4 billion people died in the
20th century. Influenza and smallpox being big contributors.

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat8.htm

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 9:10:59 PM11/7/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:

[about LotR]

> Anyway, I was fascinated by the maps, but the maps don't translate
> into visuals, and I never flipped from the story to the map, so I
> never got a good sense of, "Here during this, here during this."

At times the story is too exciting to look at the maps! But the maps
certainly do help for the 'geography sections'.

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 7, 2004, 3:45:36 PM11/7/04
to
In article <kxvjd.3736$tV4...@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Jette Goldie
<j...@blueyonder.com.uk> writes

>I personally cannot watch things like "Oh What A Lovely


>War" without screaming, crying and throwing things at
>the screen............ because it didn't End All Wars.
>
>This time of year I get a little maudlin. If I start singing
>"No Man's Land", just pour me another beer and sit me
>in the corner.

I know what you mean about maudlin. It's my birthday this week and I
always feel a bit guilty about enjoying myself too much when Armistice
Day is only a couple of days later (and I especially feel the guilt when
Remembrance Sunday falls on my birthday as it occasionally has) - which
I realise is rather irrational, but that's how I've felt for many years
(and strangely I felt this way even before I first got interested in the
FWW).

aelfwina

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 2:50:29 AM11/8/04
to

"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:QkAjd.9455

(shocking statistics snipped)

> Though for some context, remember that over 4 billion people died in the
> 20th century. Influenza and smallpox being big contributors.
>
> http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat8.htm

Somewhere I seem to recall a quote from, I want to say CS Lewis, to the
effect that, "in every generation the death rate is 100%."
Seems to put things into perspective somewhat.
Barbara

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 4:34:22 AM11/8/04
to
Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> creatively typed:
>> Michelle J. Haines mha...@nanc.com wrote:

>> > Another geography section. I hate geography sections, I get
>> > lost in closets.

>> I don't know at what age you have read LotR first, but if you
>> have read it as a child (as many do), weren't you fascinated by
>> the maps? I think many kids are: Maps, especially ones with
>> secret letters on them, or treasure maps, are "thrilling" in a
>> way. At least they were to me. And when you follow the <snip>

> I certainly was. I *pored* over the maps, memorizing names,
> imagining how everything looked, what it felt like to be there, and
> *there*, and *there* -- for me, the maps were one of the things
> that made LotR real, not just a story.

Yes, exactly. And I guess that's where I learned to work with maps.

>> And the maps are really one of the more prominent features of the
>> LotR: Every self-respecting fantasy book after Tolkien just has
>> to include one map, at least :-) Shippey also has an interesting
>> section on the 'cartographic plot' in 'The Road to ME'.

> Yum. I'll have to get that! I have /Author of the Century/, but
> not /Road/.

Actually I don't have "Author of the Century". I know that there is
some overlap between the two, but I don't know how much. Anyone who
has read both, and could comment?

- Dirk

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 1:04:07 PM11/8/04
to
In article <2004110809342...@ID-7776.user.dfncis.de>, Dirk
Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> writes

>Actually I don't have "Author of the Century". I know that there is
>some overlap between the two, but I don't know how much. Anyone who
>has read both, and could comment?

Yes I've got both and I have read both this year as background to
writing two papers on Tolkien. There is some overlap between the two but
many differences - the chief of which is that "Author" is written more
for the general lay reader, whereas "Road" is a much more scholarly
book... I found both interesting, and learnt new things about both
Tolkien and his work from both books. "Road" has more on philology and
"Author" has more on Tolkien's life...

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 1:07:55 PM11/8/04
to
In article <wUzjd.9447$up1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Christopher
Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes

>I made a donation to the Poppy Appeal the other day. The collector, an
>old woman, was most grateful. She said I was the only one to stop that
>morning. Made me feel quite sad.
>
>The coda to this story is that, later that day, I managed to prick my
>thumb with the pin used to secure the poppy to my jacket. From this
>personal experience, I now have to agree with those who say that using
>loose pins (as opposed to a safety pin) is dangerous... I now use a
>button hole, at least until the poppy falls out or I can find a safety
>pin.

I've been using a safety pin for years, but last year I didn't happen to
have one on me, so I used the straight pin initially and then, as I was
shrugging my arm into my sleeve, I caught my arm on the edge of the pin
and managed to score a scratch down the length of arm some six or so
inches long - which bled persistently ! Needless to say, this year, I
made sure I had a pin about my person when I went to purchase. I usually
drop a few coins into any Poppy Appeal tin I see being wielded - even
when I've already purchased a poppy - the collector can see I have one,
but I think they appreciate the gesture. And I confess, I never throw
away my old poppies - I simply cannot bear to do it...

Michele
==
"When ideas fail, words come in very handy." - Goethe
==
Now reading: The Two Towers - J R R Tolkien
The Treason of Isengard (HoME vol. 7) - Christopher Tolkien
==

Jens Kilian

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 2:51:44 PM11/8/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes:
> First World War: 15 million.
> Second World War: 55 million.

An estimated 20 million (soldiers and civilians) died during the Tai Ping
rebellion in China (1851-1864).
--
mailto:j...@acm.org As the air to a bird, or the sea to a fish,
http://www.bawue.de/~jjk/ so is contempt to the contemptible. [Blake]

McREsq

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 3:06:49 PM11/8/04
to
Jens wrote:

>"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes:
>> First World War: 15 million.
>> Second World War: 55 million.
>
>An estimated 20 million (soldiers and civilians) died during the Tai Ping
>rebellion in China (1851-1864).

An estimated 30 million died during the Eugenics Wars.

Russ
-------------------------------------
Fallujah delenda est

Jette Goldie

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 5:11:51 PM11/8/04
to

"Michele Fry" <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:STWBxAAw...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk...

> In article <kxvjd.3736$tV4...@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Jette Goldie
> <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> writes
>
> >I personally cannot watch things like "Oh What A Lovely
> >War" without screaming, crying and throwing things at
> >the screen............ because it didn't End All Wars.
> >
> >This time of year I get a little maudlin. If I start singing
> >"No Man's Land", just pour me another beer and sit me
> >in the corner.
>
> I know what you mean about maudlin. It's my birthday this week and I
> always feel a bit guilty about enjoying myself too much when Armistice
> Day is only a couple of days later (and I especially feel the guilt when
> Remembrance Sunday falls on my birthday as it occasionally has) - which
> I realise is rather irrational, but that's how I've felt for many years
> (and strangely I felt this way even before I first got interested in the
> FWW).


My parents' wedding anniversary was 10th November - Dad
said they always had a minute's silence for that. If mum was
still alive, this would be their 48th (she died a short while before
their 40th).


--
"Weep not for the dead, for the dead feel no pain
Grieve only for the living, who heal to hurt again."

Jette
je...@blueyonder.co.uk


Jette Goldie

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 5:11:52 PM11/8/04
to

"Michele Fry" <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:uAuRQvA7...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk...

> In article <wUzjd.9447$up1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Christopher
> Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes
>
> >I made a donation to the Poppy Appeal the other day. The collector, an
> >old woman, was most grateful. She said I was the only one to stop that
> >morning. Made me feel quite sad.
> >
> >The coda to this story is that, later that day, I managed to prick my
> >thumb with the pin used to secure the poppy to my jacket. From this
> >personal experience, I now have to agree with those who say that using
> >loose pins (as opposed to a safety pin) is dangerous... I now use a
> >button hole, at least until the poppy falls out or I can find a safety
> >pin.
>
> I've been using a safety pin for years, but last year I didn't happen to
> have one on me, so I used the straight pin initially and then, as I was
> shrugging my arm into my sleeve, I caught my arm on the edge of the pin
> and managed to score a scratch down the length of arm some six or so
> inches long - which bled persistently ! Needless to say, this year, I
> made sure I had a pin about my person when I went to purchase. I usually
> drop a few coins into any Poppy Appeal tin I see being wielded - even
> when I've already purchased a poppy - the collector can see I have one,
> but I think they appreciate the gesture. And I confess, I never throw
> away my old poppies - I simply cannot bear to do it...


The Scottish poppies are only on a loose pin - there's no stem
to the poppy, just the pin with the poppy's "centre" as the head
of the pin. No leaf either.

Jette Goldie

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 5:11:52 PM11/8/04
to

"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:tNzjd.9439$up1...@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...

> Jette Goldie <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
> > This time of year I get a little maudlin.
>
> The bit that always gets me is the famous quote:
>
> "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
> Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
> At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
> We shall remember them."
>
> (Laurence Binyon, For The Fallen, 1914)
>
> http://oldpoetry.com/author/Laurence%20Binyon
>
> [Is it 'on the sun' or 'of the sun'? Google only gives 8 hits for 'on
> the sun', including the Counter-attack [sassoonery] site... The date
> Binyon wrote it is also interesting, very early in the war.]
>


"Of the sun" is the way I remember it from school.

> I remember the first time I read this quote in a school library.
> It still strikes me as such a dignified and heart-rending epitaph.
> And it sums up the feelings of those left to grow old.
>
> And one of those was Tolkien, of course.

And my great-uncle. He lived into his 80s, but suffered for
years with a rare form of cancer caused by the gas.

aelfwina

unread,
Nov 9, 2004, 4:37:11 AM11/9/04
to

"Jette Goldie" <j...@blueyonder.com.uk> wrote in message
news:HaSjd.7196$tV4....@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk...

> My parents' wedding anniversary was 10th November - Dad
> said they always had a minute's silence for that. If mum was
> still alive, this would be their 48th (she died a short while before
> their 40th).

It's distressing and disconcerting to have a national tragedy that steps on
one's own special days. Our wedding anniversary is 9/11. The day it
occurred was actually our 25th, and we had planned quite a celebration. Now
we usually pick another day; it just seems too strange to celebrate when
everyone else is in mourning.
Barbara

John Jones

unread,
Nov 8, 2004, 2:49:57 PM11/8/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:QkAjd.9455$up1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...

> John Jones <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
>
> [about WW1 or FWW as some call it...]
>
> > Amen ... on the other hand, there hasn't been a worse war.
>
> WW2 was probably a worse war. If it is worth analysing in terms purely
> of numbers that died.
>

Sorry, Christopher; I was looking at it from a purely British perspective
(as we were discussing Tolkien's reactions).

AC

unread,
Nov 10, 2004, 5:34:51 PM11/10/04
to

If you really want an incredible (and terrible) perspective, Canada's
casualties in the name of King and Country were 241,000 killed and wounded.
That's out of a population of something like 6.5 million people. The losses
from the British Empire in general were staggering.

Of course, WWII marked the end of the British Empire itself.

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

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

AC

unread,
Nov 13, 2004, 8:26:00 PM11/13/04
to
On Thu, 4 Nov 2004 15:02:37 +0100,
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote:

> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Michelle J. Haines <mha...@nanc.com> wrote:
>> Another geography section. I hate geography sections, I get lost in
>> closets.
>
> I don't know at what age you have read LotR first, but if you have
> read it as a child (as many do), weren't you fascinated by the maps?

Absolutely! I found them fascinating and would stare at them for hours.

> I think many kids are: Maps, especially ones with secret letters on
> them, or treasure maps, are "thrilling" in a way. At least they were

> to me. And when you follow the geographical descriptions on the map,
> they suddenly become a lot easier to understand. That's still true for
> me today: If I just listen to someone describing some way for me, it's
> a meaningless stream of words I can never remember. If I translate
> that into a visual representation, it becomes a lot easier.


>
> And the maps are really one of the more prominent features of the
> LotR: Every self-respecting fantasy book after Tolkien just has to
> include one map, at least :-) Shippey also has an interesting
> section on the 'cartographic plot' in 'The Road to ME'.

I found even the map in the Hobbit thrilled my kids.

Michele Fry

unread,
Nov 14, 2004, 1:49:45 AM11/14/04
to
In article <slrncpdd18.14f....@aaronclausen.alberni.net>, AC
<mightym...@hotmail.com> writes

>Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> wrote:

>> I don't know at what age you have read LotR first, but if you have
>> read it as a child (as many do), weren't you fascinated by the maps?

and AC replies:

>Absolutely! I found them fascinating and would stare at them for hours.

I've always had a mania for maps of any kind since I was quite small.
But I got so fed up with struggling to make out anything on the maps in
the back of my p/b edition of LotR, that yesterday I went out and bought
Karen Wynn Fonstad's Atlas of Tolkien's Middle-earth - yay ! Not only
maps that are large enough to see clearly and read, but diagrams of
Towers (of Cirith Ungol, Isengard and the White Tower of Gondor),
diagrams of Bag End and the Hornburg, a plan of Shelob's lair, etc.,
etc. ! Marvellous... I can foresee that I will spend hours poring over
it and that I will drive everyone crazy by recommending it heartily.

I looked at the Barbara Strachey book - Frodo's Journeys, and whilst it
looked interesting, I'm afraid it simply didn't match up to the Fonstad
in terms of what I wanted...

Michele
==
"When ideas fail, words come in very handy." - Goethe
==

Now reading: The Return of the King - J R R Tolkien
The War of the Ring (HoME vol. 8) - Christopher Tolkien
==
Counter-Attack web site: http://www.sassoonery.demon.co.uk

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Dec 25, 2004, 6:21:01 AM12/25/04
to
On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 21:40:01 -0700, Michelle J. Haines
<mha...@nanc.com> wrote:

>And here we have again the issue of men and spells,
>because he utters his words "A virtue has been set upon them of
>finding and returning." I'll leave you folks to battle it out as you
>will.

They find the Crack of Doom and then return. Seems to me the staves
worked better than any might have expected.

>Sam wakes up to find the unnatural darkness complete, and some odd
>thunderings and ground tremblings going on. What's happening? Sam
>snarks about Gollum's uselessness, and Frodo gently corrects him.

Well, Frodo reminds him that Smeagol saw them safely through the Dead
Marshes -- a feat that might have defeated even Gandalf or Aragorn.
But Sam also ought to count the rabbits and the water, for which he
never even said "thank you". The Gaffer should have spent a little
less time on folk sayings and a bit more on teaching Sam some manners.

There were a few comments on the fallen kingly head, but I would like
to consider the statue for a moment as it "now" stand (sits):

"The years had gnawed it, and violent hands had maimed it. Its head
was gone, and in its place was set in mockery a round rough-hewn
stone, rudely painted by savage hands in the likeness of a grinning
face with one large red eye in the midst of its forehead. Upon its
knees and mighty chair, and all about the pedestal, were idle scrawls
mixed with the foul symbols that the maggot-folk of Mordor used."

I think we can all agree that Orcs have done this and that this
represents the power of Sauron replacing that of the kings and their
people in Ithilien. But how symbolic or how realistic is this
portrayal. Is it possible that Sauron's form (in the Third Age, at
least) is that of a cyclops? Since he can no longer fake his way with
fair form, why not? It's not that impractical and improves his scary
factor.

R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 29, 2004, 6:43:18 PM12/29/04
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

<snip>

> There were a few comments on the fallen kingly head, but I would like
> to consider the statue for a moment as it "now" stand (sits):
>
> "The years had gnawed it, and violent hands had maimed it. Its head
> was gone, and in its place was set in mockery a round rough-hewn
> stone, rudely painted by savage hands in the likeness of a grinning
> face with one large red eye in the midst of its forehead. Upon its
> knees and mighty chair, and all about the pedestal, were idle scrawls
> mixed with the foul symbols that the maggot-folk of Mordor used."
>
> I think we can all agree that Orcs have done this and that this
> represents the power of Sauron replacing that of the kings and their
> people in Ithilien. But how symbolic or how realistic is this
> portrayal. Is it possible that Sauron's form (in the Third Age, at
> least) is that of a cyclops? Since he can no longer fake his way with
> fair form, why not? It's not that impractical and improves his scary
> factor.

Interesting. You take the placement of the eye on the 'forehead' of the
statue's new head to indicate that Sauron is a cyclops. Without any
other supporting evidence, I don't know how seriously to take that idea,
but it is interesting. Maybe Sauron smiles all the time like the village
idiot as well? :-)

I'd say that the eye was 'branded' on the forehead as a symbol of the
power of Sauron to dominate the mind. Similar to Saruman's white hand
being branded on the face of his orcs. Ooops. That was a filmism.

<penance>

I wonder where else we see the red eye symbol? I can only remember the
shields and livery of the orcs. Oh, and the flies of Mordor of course!

"Flies, dun or grey, or black, marked like orcs with a red eye-shaped
blotch, buzzed and stung..." (The Land of Shadow)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Dec 29, 2004, 7:13:40 PM12/29/04
to
In message <news:qiHAd.898$1c....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> I wonder where else we see the red eye symbol? I can only remember
> the shields and livery of the orcs. Oh, and the flies of Mordor of
> course!

The horrible projectiles during the Siege of Gondor:

"They were grim to look on; for though some were crushed
and shapeless, and some had been cruelly hewn, yet many
had features that could be told, and it seemed that they
had died in pain; and all were branded with the foul
token of the Lidless Eye."

Not red, but the "Lidless Eye." I imagine that this, too, was placed
on the forehead -- it's the most convenient / logical place to put the
branding of an extra eye.

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

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

Yuk Tang

unread,
Jan 1, 2005, 8:31:12 AM1/1/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in
news:Xns95CFCD92...@130.133.1.4:
> In message <news:qiHAd.898$1c....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us
> with:
>
>> I wonder where else we see the red eye symbol? I can only
>> remember the shields and livery of the orcs. Oh, and the flies of
>> Mordor of course!
>
> The horrible projectiles during the Siege of Gondor:
>
> "They were grim to look on; for though some were crushed
> and shapeless, and some had been cruelly hewn, yet many
> had features that could be told, and it seemed that they
> had died in pain; and all were branded with the foul
> token of the Lidless Eye."
>
> Not red, but the "Lidless Eye." I imagine that this, too, was
> placed on the forehead -- it's the most convenient / logical place
> to put the branding of an extra eye.

The flattest part of the face, a nice broad area on which to draw.
Also where the palm is placed when schoolkids 'spam' each other.


--
Cheers, ymt.

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Jan 1, 2005, 3:28:22 PM1/1/05
to
On Wed, 29 Dec 2004 23:43:18 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>I'd say that the eye was 'branded' on the forehead as a symbol of the
>power of Sauron to dominate the mind. Similar to Saruman's white hand
>being branded on the face of his orcs. Ooops. That was a filmism.

Yeah, if it were done by defacing the original head, that's how I'd
see it, but since they bothered to make a replacement head, I think
maybe that it was meant to resemble Sauron. Of course, there isn't any
supporting evidence for Sauron-as-cyclops... then again, there's none
against that I know of.

R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Aug 30, 2005, 2:33:17 AM8/30/05
to
On Sun, 7 Nov 2004 20:45:36 +0000, Michele Fry
<mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In article <kxvjd.3736$tV4...@fe2.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Jette Goldie
><j...@blueyonder.com.uk> writes
>
>>I personally cannot watch things like "Oh What A Lovely
>>War" without screaming, crying and throwing things at
>>the screen............ because it didn't End All Wars.
>>
>>This time of year I get a little maudlin. If I start singing
>>"No Man's Land", just pour me another beer and sit me
>>in the corner.
>
>I know what you mean about maudlin. It's my birthday this week and I
>always feel a bit guilty about enjoying myself too much when Armistice
>Day is only a couple of days later (and I especially feel the guilt when
>Remembrance Sunday falls on my birthday as it occasionally has) - which
>I realise is rather irrational, but that's how I've felt for many years
>(and strangely I felt this way even before I first got interested in the
>FWW).
>
>Michele

My sister can certainly commiserate. Her birthday is September 11. :(

Perhaps it is just as well that the memory of those grim days is now
fading. When a nation clings to such memories, the past tends to
poison both the present and the future. Ireland, South Africa,
Kosovo, China, India and Pakistan are just a few examples of the far
too many nations that are obsessed with the ghosts of the past.

Morgoth's Curse