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Ch. o/t Wk: LoTR Bk 1 Ch. 12: "Flight to the Ford"

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AC

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Apr 4, 2004, 11:26:52 PM4/4/04
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Ch. o/t Wk: LoTR Bk 1 Ch. 12: "Flight to the Ford"

You can find previous discussions on http://parasha.maoltuile.org/ . As
well, take the opportunity to sign up for a chapter yourself.

Synopsis
--------
Frodo comes to after the attack at Weathertop to find himself lying next to
the fire, with his friends bending over him. He asks what has happened, and
Sam tells him that they saw nothing but vague shadow shapes, and then Frodo
vanished. Sam could hear Frodo, but as if from a greater distance, or
underground.[1] They did not find Frodo until they stumbled over him.

Strider is gone, and Sam distrusts him again. When Strider returns, Sam
stands between him and Frodo, sword drawn. Strider reassures Sam, and tells
him that he cannot tell why the Black Riders withdrew, and that he cannot
sense them anywhere.[2] Once he hears from Frodo, Strider tells Sam that
only five Riders attacked and that they had withdrawn to wait. Sam is
choked with tears when Strider tells him that Frodo has a deadly wound, but
Strider tells him not to despair. Strider then departs.[3]

Frodo feels the pain of his wound growing, spreading a deadly chill from his
should to his arm.[4] When Strider returns, he finds a black cloak with a
slash mark from Frodo's sword, though the sword has perished. Strider
explains that more deadly was Frodo crying the name of Elbereth. Then he
lifts up a long thin knife, with the tip broken off. The blade melts and
then vanishes.[5] Strider then sets about crushing leaves that he has
gathered south of the Road, and which he names Athelas. The herb seems to
aid Frodo's wound, though he could not use his arm or hand.[6]

The Hobbits and Strider get on the move again, with Frodo riding on the
pony. They make for south of the road, which is more heavily wooded, and
which Strider hopes will shorten the trip by cutting out a large loop in the
Road. They walk for several days without sensing the presence of the Black
Riders, though they did not believe that the pursuit had ended. Finally they
have to go back on to the road to cross the River Hoarwell at the Last
Bridge.[7]

Strider finds a green beryl (Elf-stone) which he reads as a sign that the
Bridge is safe, but once they cross they had into the wilds off the road
again. They see ancient walls which Strider says were made by ancient Men
who fell under the sway of Angmar. The company now enters difficult
terrain, and wind and rain come, making lighting fires impossible. To make
matters worse, their provisions are running short.

Strider determines they have come too far north, and that they must find the
Ford of Bruinen. They scramble over rocky ground, and when they encounter a
ridge, even Frodo has to get off the pony and struggle up. When they reach
the top, Frodo feels much worse, with his arm cold and icy, and the trees
and rocks looking shadow and dim. They spend the night on the ridge, and
Frodo has a dream of endless dark wings on which pursuers sought him.[8]

In the morning, as they make for the road again, they find a path. They
follow the path, and discover a cave with a door. They fear trolls, but
Strider observes the cave has been empty for some time. Pippin and Merry
run ahead, and then return and fearfully recount that there are trolls
ahead. They find three trolls, and strider breaks a stick over one, These
are the very trolls that Thorin and Co. had encountered many years before!

Feeling cheered up, they ask for a song. Sam sings the Troll Song much to
everyone's amazement, as he made up the words himself.[9]

That afternoon, they find the Road again. They travel down the Road and
then at the end of the march begin looking for a place to camp. Then they
hear the noise of hoofs. They scramble for cover, but then hear bells as
well, certainly not the trappings of a Black Rider. So they might
Glorifindel, who had been sent out nine days earlier from Rivendell to
search for the company when word that the Hobbits had been travelling
without Gandalf. Glorifindel reports that Gandalf had not reached Rivendell
before he had left.[10]

Glorifindel admits he cannot heal Frodo, but his touch brings some relief
and he could see the faces of friends more clearly. Glorifindel pushes them
on to the Fords, allowing only short breaks, while Frodo rides on
Glorifindel's horse. As they journey, Frodo worsens, until all things
around him in daylight seemed "faded to shadows of ghostly grey".[11]

The Road enters a deep cutting, and as they walk through it, they can hear
the echoes of many footfalls that seem to be following them. Suddenly they
are through and can see the Fords before them. Then the Riders attack.[12]

Five of the Black Riders gallop out of the trees where they had just come
out. Glorifindel cries to Frodo to ride, but Frodo is reluctant and checks
his horse, reaching for his sword. The Riders appear more solid to Frodo
now than the trees and hills. Frodo draws his sword, but Glorifindel
commands the horse to flee ("noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!"). Then the
white horse springs, and then with a terrible cry, the other four riders
ride out of the trees and rocks, two attempting to beat Frodo to the Fords
to cut him off.

Frodo can see the Riders now clearly. Glorifindel's horse races on, right
by the foremost Rider, and Frodo is across the Ford. The Nine are now
assembled on the opposite side of the Rod. Frodo commands them "Go back!",
but the Rider's only laugh and tell him to return to Mordor with them.
Frodo cries "By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair you shall have neither the
Ring nor me!" Then the pale King raises his hand, and Frodo is stricken
dumb and his sword breaks.[13]

Then the foremost of the Black Riders steps into the River and even as Frodo
finally begins to fade, he sees a great flood of water take the Riders away.
In the distance he can see a shining figure of white light and darker
shadows waving flames, driving the rest of the horses into the flood. Then
Frodo knows no more.[14]

Points of Interest
------------------
[1] This seems similar to the description of the Barrow-wight's voice when
Frodo first encountered it. "'Here!' said a voice, deep and cold, that
seemed to come out of the ground. 'I am waiting for you!'" (FotR chapter 8
- Fog on the Barrow Downs). Is there some sort of connection here? Perhaps
the Barrow-wights are some sort of wraiths?

[2a] It seems even Strider at first cannot figure out why the Black Riders
withdrew.

[2b] This is, for me at least, a key point for bother Strider and Sam.
Strider finally manages to convince Sam of his good intentions.

[3] It always struck me as dangerous that Strider departed again at this
point, as it was still dark.

[4] Here we see the first effects of the Morgul wound. Is this where Frodo
begins to fade?

[5] Cue endless debate about what exactly harmed the Witch King.

[6] Here we see two types of magic. The sorcery of the Witch King makes any
blade that pierces him disappear, and the Morgul blade does a rather
spectacular disappearing in a cloud of smoke. On the other side, we see
that Athelas, a herb from Numenor, have some power over even Frodo's deadly
wound.

[7] I don't know about anybody else, but the first time I read this chapter,
I was convinced that they were going to be attacked at the Last Bridge.
Throughout this entire chapter, Tolkien paints the empty lands between the
Shire and Rivendell as bleak and empty, filled with ruins and threats. Much
of this chapter is dedicated to reiterating just how difficult travel here
is.

[8] A hint of things to come? Winged pursuers? Hmmm...

[9a] I've always found the Troll sequence a bit odd and misplaced, like a
part of the early chapters transplanted in to what is the much darker book
that LotR has become.

[9b] We also see Tolkien recycling and substantially reworking a poem from
1936; "The Root of the Boot". I rather felt sorry for Sam, that no one
except Frodo really thought him up to the challenge of making up a song.

[10] We're given a pretty good indication as to how powerful Glorifindel is.
"There are few in Rivendell that can ride openly against the Nine; but such
as there were, Elrond set out north, west, and south."

[11] Again we see Frodo worsening. This is clearly part of the fading, and
reminds me of how the world looks to someone wearing the Ring.

[12] This deep cutting seems designed for pursuers to catch their prey. If
it were me, I might have left the Road again. Not that it would have done
much good once they reached the Ford. The Nine indicate once again that
their tactics are to wait until the opportune moment. Could the attack at
Weathertop been timed so that Frodo would have succumbed by the time he
reached the Fords?

[13a] To me, this chapter has some of the most exciting and action-oriented
prose in all of Tolkien's writings. The panic and the sheer terror of the
Riders is brought through. We know Frodo is nearly under their power, and
that only an Elf horse lies between him and capture. Now the Riders seem
more real than all else, clearly indicating that Frodo is now near the end.

[13b] This is one of the few places where we get see the Nazgul, and it does
seem that together they are far more potent. We also see the Witch King's
power directly when he raises his hand and cleaves Frodo's tongue and breaks
his sword.

[13c] Frodo truly shows his mettle here. Though the situation seems
hopeless (and would have been if Elrond had not flooded the Bruinen), Frodo
tries to be defiant. Tolkien does an extraordinary job of showing both his
strength and his complete vulnerability. He cannot hope to defy the Nine
gathered together, and yet he does try. For me at least, this is a major
moment of character growth for Frodo. In a way, he ceases to be a Shire
Hobbit, but a hero, an elf-friend in the tradition of Beren, Hurin and
Turin.

[14] Here we see an example of the fear of the Nazgul to cross water, and
how they seem to be strengthened by the Witch King's presence. I'm assuming
that waving the flames was to spook the Nazgul's horses, but it seems they
also have a problem with fire.

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

Elwë Singollo

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Apr 5, 2004, 2:31:25 PM4/5/04
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<snip>

Thanks Aaron for this brilliant summary and those interesting points of
interest...

> Points of Interest
> ------------------


> [3] It always struck me as dangerous that Strider departed again at this
> point, as it was still dark.

Hmmm, Strider probably knew how dangerous it was, but if he didn't go fetch
some Athelas, Frodo might not have survived. I don't exactly know how
important was the plant in the process that kept Frodo alive, but I imagine
that if Aragorn took the risk to leave the camp to look for it, then maybe
Frodo wouldn't have survived without it.


> [5] Cue endless debate about what exactly harmed the Witch King.

Exactly : What frightened the Nazgūl? the name Elbereth or the sight of
Frodo's blade from Westerness. According to Strider, it would rather be the
former, but knowing how the witch king died, I think the blade may have
played an important role, too.

> [7] I don't know about anybody else, but the first time I read this
chapter,
> I was convinced that they were going to be attacked at the Last Bridge.
> Throughout this entire chapter, Tolkien paints the empty lands between the
> Shire and Rivendell as bleak and empty, filled with ruins and threats.
Much
> of this chapter is dedicated to reiterating just how difficult travel here
> is.

Tolkien did it on purpose. Even if you know that nothing will happen, you
feel the tension as they approach the bridge. Being the only place to cross
the river, the bridge is -- of course -- a place of choice for the black
riders to plan an attack, and you expect it to happen. when the tension
rises to a paroxysm, then nothing happens, but you know that it is only a
matter of time, because there is another river to cross. I do like the way
tolkien fed the suspense in this chapter...

>
> [8] A hint of things to come? Winged pursuers? Hmmm...

Hmmm, indeed

>
> [9a] I've always found the Troll sequence a bit odd and misplaced, like a
> part of the early chapters transplanted in to what is the much darker book
> that LotR has become.

Well, Tolkien likes to insert part of other stories in his tale, this being
a very good example, and to me, it does not seem misplaced. Besides, knowing
they were following Bilbo's steps had a positive impact on Frodo, who felt
better. Perhaps this was due to the fact that he could now see and speak
about something he has heard of. He is not in an complete unknown world
anymore...


>
> [14] Here we see an example of the fear of the Nazgul to cross water, and
> how they seem to be strengthened by the Witch King's presence. I'm
assuming
> that waving the flames was to spook the Nazgul's horses, but it seems they
> also have a problem with fire.

It is written that the horses were freighten by the fire and jumped in the
water, but as you mentioned it, the Nazgūl seem to have a problem with fire
also : Aragorn always lit a fire at night during the trip from Bree to
rivendell, to keep them from being attacked. And on weathertop, Aragorn
freightened the witch-king with a piece of burning wood.

Elwė

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


Raven

unread,
Apr 5, 2004, 3:31:27 PM4/5/04
to
"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> skrev i en meddelelse
news:slrnc71kfs.3rs....@alder.alberni.net...

> When Strider returns, he finds a black cloak with a slash mark from
> Frodo's sword, though the sword has perished.

Frodo's sword had not perished. You note later in the synopsis that the
Witch-king breaks Frodo's sword at the ford. This is the same sword that
Frodo tried to stab the Witch-king with. Strider's point is that since the
sword did not perish, Frodo did not succeed at stabbing his enemy with it.

> [1] This seems similar to the description of the Barrow-wight's voice when
> Frodo first encountered it. "'Here!' said a voice, deep and cold, that
> seemed to come out of the ground. 'I am waiting for you!'" (FotR chapter
> 8 - Fog on the Barrow Downs). Is there some sort of connection
> here? Perhaps the Barrow-wights are some sort of wraiths?

Or the point may be that these creatures live partly in a different
world, as does Frodo when he wears the Ring.

> [3] It always struck me as dangerous that Strider departed again at this
> point, as it was still dark.

Not if he could sense that they had withdrawn, and did not need to search
the land with his eyes to make sure.

> [14] Here we see an example of the fear of the Nazgul to cross water, and
> how they seem to be strengthened by the Witch King's presence. I'm
> assuming that waving the flames was to spook the Nazgul's horses, but
> it seems they also have a problem with fire.

Strider says as much at Weathertop. They light a fire in part because
the Nazgūl fear it, and fear those who wield it.

Harvan.


AC

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Apr 5, 2004, 3:39:45 PM4/5/04
to
On Mon, 5 Apr 2004 21:31:27 +0200,
Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote:
> "AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> skrev i en meddelelse
> news:slrnc71kfs.3rs....@alder.alberni.net...
>
>> When Strider returns, he finds a black cloak with a slash mark from
>> Frodo's sword, though the sword has perished.
>
> Frodo's sword had not perished. You note later in the synopsis that the
> Witch-king breaks Frodo's sword at the ford. This is the same sword that
> Frodo tried to stab the Witch-king with. Strider's point is that since the
> sword did not perish, Frodo did not succeed at stabbing his enemy with it.

Doh! My mistake. I've only read the chapter twenty odd times too.

<snip>

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

Glenn Holliday

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Apr 5, 2004, 7:36:10 PM4/5/04
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AC wrote:
>
> [9a] I've always found the Troll sequence a bit odd and misplaced, like a
> part of the early chapters transplanted in to what is the much darker book
> that LotR has become.

I think 2 things influenced it. Well, 3. It's part of Tolkien's
rhythm to put his characters in danger, then rest at a place of safety.
This is a little pause in the tension.

Frodo's journey from Hobbiton to Rivendell parallels, but does not
exactly follow, Bilbo's. Finding Bilbo's trolls makes the two
stories cross and touch each other at this point. I like that.

Finally, I think you are also correct. The discovery of the trolls
by Merry and Pippin, and Strider's reaction, are slapstick
humor. It feels like an earlier layer in the development
of the story. I suspect Tolkien decided it also served other
purposes well enough, and he had too many other things to
change to be bothered with brushing up this one.

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


Raven

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Apr 5, 2004, 4:49:48 PM4/5/04
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"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> skrev i en meddelelse
news:slrnc73dg0.29g....@alder.alberni.net...

> Doh! My mistake. I've only read the chapter twenty odd times too.

:-) For many years I had a mental image of Frodo, Sam and Gollum
climbing the Stairs of Cirith Ungol with the Morgul Pass on their left, ie.
that they scaled the south wall of the pass. Somewhat like the picture in
The Hobbit of the pass where Bilbo and the Dwarves were captured by the
goblins. Then I re-read it more carefully...

Korb.


Kristian Damm Jensen

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Apr 6, 2004, 4:13:19 PM4/6/04
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Damn. You mean .. .Jackson got it right?

--
Kristian Damm Jensen damm (at) ofir (dot) dk
If you have a procedure with 10 parameters, you probably missed some.
-- Kraulis

Steuard Jensen

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Apr 6, 2004, 5:44:36 PM4/6/04
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Here it is: my sadly delayed first ever real post to a chapter of the
week thread. :P Glad to be here, though I probably won't have time to
follow up.

Quoth mightym...@hotmail.com in article
<slrnc71kfs.3rs....@alder.alberni.net>:
> Points of Interest

> [1] This seems similar to the description of the Barrow-wight's voice when
> Frodo first encountered it. "'Here!' said a voice, deep and cold, that
> seemed to come out of the ground. 'I am waiting for you!'" (FotR chapter 8
> - Fog on the Barrow Downs). Is there some sort of connection here? Perhaps
> the Barrow-wights are some sort of wraiths?

We've wondered similar things in the past, but I don't recall anyone
bringing up this similarity before. Very interesting.

> [2a] It seems even Strider at first cannot figure out why the Black Riders
> withdrew.

At first? Even his final guess sounds awfully tentative to me! (I
think he got it at least partly right, but our frequent debates show
that it's not clear what the real answer was.)

> [6] Here we see two types of magic. The sorcery of the Witch King makes any
> blade that pierces him disappear, and the Morgul blade does a rather
> spectacular disappearing in a cloud of smoke. On the other side, we see
> that Athelas, a herb from Numenor, have some power over even Frodo's deadly
> wound.

Thinking back to my outdated essay on magic in Middle-earth, I'd class
the operation of Athelas as "technological magic": something that
_could_ have an explanation in terms of familiar non-magical
behaviors. (The classic example would be the Doors of Moria, which we
could probably build with today's technology.) Yes, it seems to have
a "spiritual" component too, but it's not blatantly supernatural.

On the other hand, I'd actually distinguish between the two bits of
blade-vanishing magic that you've cited here. The Morgul blade
vanishing might possibly be classed as "technological", too. (I
wonder if you could do something similar with dry ice?) Mind you, the
_effects_ of the Morgul knife go far beyond the "technological"
category, but that's not what we're discussing here.

The destruction of blades that pierce the Witch King seems rather
different to me: it's clearly an effect that he has on the weapon, not
an intrinsic property of the weapon itself. And it doesn't seem at
all "technological": not only do I think it very unlikely that the
Witch King's veins ran with acid, but the destruction of the blade
seems total, not limited to the part that touched his blood. I'd
classify this as "active" magic (despite the fact that the Witch King
seemed to have "activated" it in the distant past).

> [7] I don't know about anybody else, but the first time I read this chapter,
> I was convinced that they were going to be attacked at the Last Bridge.

An excellent bit of tension-building, I agree. :)

> Throughout this entire chapter, Tolkien paints the empty lands
> between the Shire and Rivendell as bleak and empty, filled with
> ruins and threats. Much of this chapter is dedicated to reiterating
> just how difficult travel here is.

Yup. And that's something that didn't _really_ come across in the
movies, though I can't really blame Jackson for that. (Even if he'd
been given the six films that he'd need to include everything, how do
you maintain the audience's interest through ten minutes of "tense
bushwhacking"? Maybe Hitchcock could have done it... but could even
he have kept that tension up for ten hours?)

> [9a] I've always found the Troll sequence a bit odd and misplaced, like a
> part of the early chapters transplanted in to what is the much darker book
> that LotR has become.

You could be right. On the other hand, the very "misplacedness" of
this scene can make the reader very aware that the tone has changed.
The contrast between how this scene feels where it is and how it would
have felt back in, say, chapter 3, is striking. It's one of the
reader's first chances to put the Shire events into perspective.

> [10] We're given a pretty good indication as to how powerful Glorifindel is.
> "There are few in Rivendell that can ride openly against the Nine; but such
> as there were, Elrond set out north, west, and south."

I've always wondered just what that meant. Could Glorfindel really
have faced down all Nine Riders in a pinch? Or was he just one of the
few who could be trusted not to totally lose his wits? (Aragorn was
certainly one of the latter, but almost certainly not one of the
former.)

> [12] This deep cutting seems designed for pursuers to catch their prey. If
> it were me, I might have left the Road again. Not that it would have done
> much good once they reached the Ford. The Nine indicate once again that
> their tactics are to wait until the opportune moment. Could the attack at
> Weathertop been timed so that Frodo would have succumbed by the time he
> reached the Fords?

I honestly think that the attack on Weathertop was timed so that the
Nazgul could kill the hobbits and seize the Ring right there.
Anything else just strikes me as totally nuts. :) And as for the
timing, I get the impression that a normal human stabbed by that knife
would have faded within a couple of days rather than holding out so
long... so even the Nazgul's backup plan should have worked out well
before their prey reached Rivendell. Must have been a real shock when
it didn't!
Steuard Jensen

Glenn Holliday

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Apr 6, 2004, 7:39:36 PM4/6/04
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Steuard Jensen wrote:
>
> > [10] We're given a pretty good indication as to how powerful Glorifindel is.
> > "There are few in Rivendell that can ride openly against the Nine; but such
> > as there were, Elrond set out north, west, and south."
>
> I've always wondered just what that meant. Could Glorfindel really
> have faced down all Nine Riders in a pinch?

I believe so. He took down a Balrog after Gondolin. I think Frodo's
vision of Glorfindel in the other world strongly suggests that
Glorfindel has much greater innate power than the Nazgul.

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

AC

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Apr 6, 2004, 10:43:39 PM4/6/04
to

I don't know if Glorifindel could have actually faced down the Nine
together. I think the key would be that he, unlike lesser individuals,
would not be spooked. Alone against them I don't think his success would be
guaranteed.

Then again, I'm not a big fan of "who's tougher, Sauron or Osse" sorts of
conversations. Different beings had different powers, and the Nine's chief
weapon was fear. Against one of the Noldor of Aman, fear would probably be
ineffective. However, as we can see from this very chapter, the Nazgul (or
at least the Witch King) had other powers at their disposal.

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

Taemon

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Apr 7, 2004, 3:22:29 PM4/7/04
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AC wrote repeatedly:

> Glorifindel

Glorfindel.

T.


AC

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Apr 7, 2004, 3:54:45 PM4/7/04
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Boy, that was a dumb blunder on my part!

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

Taemon

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Apr 7, 2004, 4:53:54 PM4/7/04
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AC wrote:

> Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
> > AC wrote repeatedly:
> > > Glorifindel
> > Glorfindel.
> Boy, that was a dumb blunder on my part!

It's not big deal of course, but, only out of curiosity: did you
really read "Glorifindel" all those years?

T.


AC

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Apr 7, 2004, 6:04:00 PM4/7/04
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On Wed, 7 Apr 2004 22:53:54 +0200,

Come to think of it, I may very well have been. I know that the first few
times I read LotR, I pronounced "C"s like "S"s (I admit I didn't read the
pronunciation section at first). So Celeborn was "S"eleborn. It took me a
long time to finally turn that into "K"eleborn.

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

the softrat

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Apr 7, 2004, 11:27:41 PM4/7/04
to
On 7 Apr 2004 19:54:45 GMT, in alt.fan.tolkien AC
<mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>On Wed, 7 Apr 2004 21:22:29 +0200,
>Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
>> AC wrote repeatedly:
>>
>>> Glorifindel
>>
>> Glorfindel.
>
>Boy, that was a dumb blunder on my part!

Dumb Blundes do that sort of thing.

the softrat
"I feel like I'm beating my head against a dead horse."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
"If you ever reach total enlightenment while you're drinking a beer,
I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose."
--Jack Handy

the softrat

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Apr 7, 2004, 11:27:41 PM4/7/04
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On Thu, 08 Apr 2004 00:42:24 +0100, Alison <news....@ntlworld.com>
wrote:

>While we're on the subject, is Gimli's father Glow-in (as in the BBC
>adaptation), or Gloyn (as in the film)?

Well, actually neither, but English speakers are rarely equipped to
savour the difference. (Ans: About midway between the two. Cf. Old
Norse and New Icelanic.)

Henriette

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Apr 8, 2004, 7:16:33 AM4/8/04
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Glenn Holliday <holl...@acm.org> wrote in message news:<4071ED65...@acm.org>...

> AC wrote:
> >
> > [9a] I've always found the Troll sequence a bit odd and misplaced, like a
> > part of the early chapters transplanted in to what is the much darker book
> > that LotR has become.
>
> I think 2 things influenced it. Well, 3. It's part of Tolkien's
> rhythm to put his characters in danger, then rest at a place of safety.
> This is a little pause in the tension.
>
(snip other points).
Little pauses like this, makes the tension of the chapter both more
bearable and more exciting. I find the Troll scene very realistic, in
the sense that (in my experience) in RL when going through strenious
times, silly things do not stop happening. Besides, without the Troll
pause, the tension would have been somewhat over the top for me.

Henriette

Henriette

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Apr 8, 2004, 7:18:26 AM4/8/04
to
"Elwë Singollo" <elwe.s...@doriath.me> wrote in message news:<edd32e7008e2df8a...@news.teranews.com>...

> <snip>
>
> Thanks Aaron for this brilliant summary and those interesting points of
> interest...
>
Seconded.

Henriette

Henriette

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Apr 8, 2004, 7:29:29 AM4/8/04
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AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:
(snip)

> Strider is gone, and Sam distrusts him again. When Strider returns, Sam
> stands between him and Frodo, sword drawn.

I find this a moving part of the book, although I would like to know
what our Professor had in mind when he lets Sam repeatedly risk his
life for Frodo. Does Sam love Frodo that much? Is it a sense of duty?
Altruism?

> [6] Here we see two types of magic. The sorcery of the Witch King makes any
> blade that pierces him disappear, and the Morgul blade does a rather
> spectacular disappearing in a cloud of smoke. On the other side, we see
> that Athelas, a herb from Numenor, have some power over even Frodo's deadly
> wound.
>

I wonder if even pharmacologists would attribute the healing power of
herbs to magic.

Henriette

thestraw

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Apr 8, 2004, 11:13:31 AM4/8/04
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AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<slrnc76qmr.284....@alder.alberni.net>...

> On Tue, 06 Apr 2004 19:39:36 -0400,
> Glenn Holliday <holl...@acm.org> wrote:
> > Steuard Jensen wrote:
> >>
> >> > [10] We're given a pretty good indication as to how powerful Glorifindel is.
> >> > "There are few in Rivendell that can ride openly against the Nine; but such
> >> > as there were, Elrond set out north, west, and south."
> >>
> >> I've always wondered just what that meant. Could Glorfindel really
> >> have faced down all Nine Riders in a pinch?

No he could not. Or at least not when he's on foot and the nine are
mounted. On page 270 of FOTR Gandalf says to Frodo, "On foot even
Glorfindel and Aragorn together could not withstand all the nine at
once."
So whether Glorfindel could have faced down all the nine if he was
mounted on Asfaloth is a matter of speculation.
He did chase three nazgul off the bridge of Mitheithnel so he is
certainly quite powerful but is he powerful enough to take on all the
nine together? Anyway, couldn't the Witch King just break his sword
like he did to Frodo?

AC

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Apr 8, 2004, 11:28:45 AM4/8/04
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On 8 Apr 2004 08:13:31 -0700,

As I said, I think that Glorfindel would not be left shaking in his boots.
Withstanding the unwholesome fear that was the Nazgul's major weapon is one
thing. Riding against the Nine united is doubtful.

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

the softrat

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Apr 8, 2004, 12:18:46 PM4/8/04
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On 8 Apr 2004 04:29:29 -0700, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:
>
>I find this a moving part of the book, although I would like to know
>what our Professor had in mind when he lets Sam repeatedly risk his
>life for Frodo. Does Sam love Frodo that much? Is it a sense of duty?
>Altruism?
>
He hasn't been paid his gardener fee for the month of September yet.
"If Master dies, there goes my lucre!"


the softrat
"I feel like I'm beating my head against a dead horse."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

Profanity: The linguistic crutch of inarticulate bastards

Steuard Jensen

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Apr 8, 2004, 12:44:31 PM4/8/04
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Quoth bniel...@hotmail.com (thestraw) in article
<4bd1000e.0404...@posting.google.com>:
> Anyway, couldn't the Witch King just break [Glorfindel's] sword like
> he did to Frodo?

I've thought about the Witch King's sword-breaking trick in the past;
there are many points to consider. (For example, Frodo's case was the
_only_ time we see the Witch King blow up a weapon. It's possible
that he may have done something similar to help out with the
destruction of the gates of Minas Tirith, but that's really not
clear.)

I suspect that if the Witch King could routinely blow up weapons from
a distance, he would have done so more often (as a first step when
fighting Eowyn, for example). Thus, my best guess for a while has
been that he was able to do so only after special preparations
(preparations that he would have had time for between Weathertop and
the Ford). Moreover, I tend to suspect that his ability in this case
was tied to the anti-Nazgul properties of Frodo's sword: perhaps
whatever "spell" made it especially effective against him made it more
vulnerable to his countermeasures, too. And the fact that most such
blades had been buried for many centuries could easily explain why he
didn't have those countermeasures ready on a routine basis (at
Weathertop, for example).

It may or may not be "right", but it makes a lot of sense to me,
anyway. :)
Steuard Jensen

Kristian Damm Jensen

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Apr 8, 2004, 2:23:03 PM4/8/04
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the softrat wrote:
> On 7 Apr 2004 19:54:45 GMT, in alt.fan.tolkien AC
> <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On Wed, 7 Apr 2004 21:22:29 +0200,
>> Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
>>> AC wrote repeatedly:
>>>
>>>> Glorifindel
>>>
>>> Glorfindel.
>>
>> Boy, that was a dumb blunder on my part!
>
> Dumb Blundes do that sort of thing.

Oh, I don't think Glorfindel was dumb. In fact I find him rather eloquent.

--
Kristian Damm Jensen damm (at) ofir (dot) dk

A man sits in a museum somewhere and writes a harmles book about
political economy and suddenly thousands of people who haven't even
read it are dying because the ones who have didn't get the joke. --
Terry Pratchett

Taemon

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Apr 8, 2004, 2:36:26 PM4/8/04
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AC wrote:

> Come to think of it, I may very well have been. I know
> that the first few times I read LotR, I pronounced "C"s
> like "S"s (I admit I didn't read the pronunciation
> section at first). So Celeborn was "S"eleborn. It took
> me a long time to finally turn that into "K"eleborn.

I did, too. I'm still not completely used to Keleborn or Kirdan.
I liked the "S" much better.

T.


Glenn Holliday

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Apr 8, 2004, 5:36:14 PM4/8/04
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AC wrote:
>
... <earlier bits about Glorfindel vs Nazgul snipped>

> Then again, I'm not a big fan of "who's tougher, Sauron or Osse" sorts of
> conversations.

I agree. The only important point here is establishing that
Glorfindel is qualified to be wandering the wild hunting
Nazgul, hobbits, and rangers.

Glorfindel is instrumental in saving Frodo's life by getting
him across the Ford. He then drops out of sight for the rest
of LOTR. So the question of "how tough is he?" doesn't
really matter to the story.

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


Belba Grubb from Stock

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Apr 8, 2004, 7:25:33 PM4/8/04
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On 5 Apr 2004 03:26:52 GMT, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>[1] This seems similar to the description of the Barrow-wight's voice when
>Frodo first encountered it. "'Here!' said a voice, deep and cold, that
>seemed to come out of the ground. 'I am waiting for you!'" (FotR chapter 8
>- Fog on the Barrow Downs). Is there some sort of connection here? Perhaps
>the Barrow-wights are some sort of wraiths?

I think Frodo's voice sounds strange to Sam but is either at a
distance or under the earth, while the Wight's voice seemed to come
out of the ground. Maybe the strangeness in Frodo's voice is just
because he is "on the other side" while wearing the Ring, and Sam is
having a hard time localizing it because Frodo is in motion and
throwing himself down at the time?

>[2a] It seems even Strider at first cannot figure out why the Black Riders
>withdrew.

Him and me both (g). Well, I can see why they withdrew, thinking they
had wounded Frodo with the knife and he would soon succumb to the
wound.

But I don't understand why they held off all the way to the Ford. If
the reason was that they were waiting for the wound to overcome Frodo,
then they would have held off while Strider and the hobbits too the
much quicker route to Rivendell down the Road, one would think. Every
now and then our heroes would pass a Nazgul lounging up against a
standing stone while his horse grazed peacefully nearby; he'd peer
significantly at his watch as they went by, hum several bars of "The
Funeral March" and wave them casually through....(g)

And when they realized Frodo was holding on, why didn't they attack
our heroes before they reached the Ford? They had no trouble finding
them in the dell at Weathertop, so why not in the other wild country?

>[2b] This is, for me at least, a key point for bother Strider and Sam.
>Strider finally manages to convince Sam of his good intentions.

I think so, too, although Frodo will later say he believed Sam still
doubted Strider until Glorfindel showed up. What wins Sam's trust
here may be Strider's healing attempts that do help somewhat
(hmmm...foreshadowing the king's healing hands winning trust in the
people of Gondor?)

It tells us a lot about Sam, too. Back at the Buckleberry Ferry, it
was said that Black Riders would have to ride over Sam to get to Frodo
in the back of the wagon, but that was a little comical, and all he
did was take the reins when Farmer Maggot acted. Here he actually
draws his sword on the Chieftain of the Dunedain and Heir of Isildur,
believing him to be a Black Rider. This may be the first time we see
the heroic in Sam.

"I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey.
First he was a conspirator, now he's a jester. He'll end up
by becoming a wizard---or a warrior."

Well, here we see the warrior in him.

>[3] It always struck me as dangerous that Strider departed again at this
>point, as it was still dark.

It was, but maybe he thought it was the lesser of dangers, as it was
very important to know if they were regrouping in order to attack
again; also, he didn't know Gandalf had drawn off the other four
Nazgul and may have been looking for some sign of a second group
readying an attack.

>[4] Here we see the first effects of the Morgul wound. Is this where Frodo
>begins to fade?

Think so.

>[5] Cue endless debate about what exactly harmed the Witch King.

On cue: Elbereth's name.

>[7] I don't know about anybody else, but the first time I read this chapter,
>I was convinced that they were going to be attacked at the Last Bridge.

>Throughout this entire chapter, Tolkien paints the empty lands between the
>Shire and Rivendell as bleak and empty, filled with ruins and threats. Much
>of this chapter is dedicated to reiterating just how difficult travel here
>is.

It was a difficult stretch for Bilbo, too, even on the road.

>[8] A hint of things to come? Winged pursuers? Hmmm...

Interesting -- could be.

>[9a] I've always found the Troll sequence a bit odd and misplaced, like a
>part of the early chapters transplanted in to what is the much darker book
>that LotR has become.

It only just occurred to me as I was looking ahead to next week's
chapter, but isn't this foreshadowing our upcoming reunion with Bilbo?
Before this, Frodo is reminded by the sight of the towers of Bilbo's
journey, which is another instance of foreshadowing. JRRT is perhaps
also bringing up the lighter memories of the earlier trip to heighten
the darkness Frodo and his friends are experiencing now.

>[9b] We also see Tolkien recycling and substantially reworking a poem from
>1936; "The Root of the Boot". I rather felt sorry for Sam, that no one
>except Frodo really thought him up to the challenge of making up a song.

I didn't know about that earlier poem -- thanks.

Pippin shows a very human side, too, wanting to get out of the troll
hole and then going on ahead with Merry because he doesn't want to
show Strider how scared he was. He did something a little similar in
Bree, too, regarding how much of a load they could carry on their
backs, wanting to show Strider he is tough. It kind of sets us up for
his reaction to Denethor's initial harshness much later on in the
story.

>[12] This deep cutting seems designed for pursuers to catch their prey. If
>it were me, I might have left the Road again. Not that it would have done
>much good once they reached the Ford. The Nine indicate once again that
>their tactics are to wait until the opportune moment. Could the attack at
>Weathertop been timed so that Frodo would have succumbed by the time he
>reached the Fords?

I think not because the Riders wouldn't have had any idea how long
Frodo would resist the wound.

>[13a] To me, this chapter has some of the most exciting and action-oriented
>prose in all of Tolkien's writings. The panic and the sheer terror of the
>Riders is brought through. We know Frodo is nearly under their power, and
>that only an Elf horse lies between him and capture. Now the Riders seem
>more real than all else, clearly indicating that Frodo is now near the end.
>
>[13b] This is one of the few places where we get see the Nazgul, and it does
>seem that together they are far more potent. We also see the Witch King's
>power directly when he raises his hand and cleaves Frodo's tongue and breaks
>his sword.
>
>[13c] Frodo truly shows his mettle here. Though the situation seems
>hopeless (and would have been if Elrond had not flooded the Bruinen), Frodo
>tries to be defiant. Tolkien does an extraordinary job of showing both his
>strength and his complete vulnerability. He cannot hope to defy the Nine
>gathered together, and yet he does try. For me at least, this is a major
>moment of character growth for Frodo. In a way, he ceases to be a Shire
>Hobbit, but a hero, an elf-friend in the tradition of Beren, Hurin and
>Turin.

Yes. It's interesting that he has been surprisingly successful in
resisting the Nazgul up til now (in the sense that he hasn't been
killed or worse and still has the Ring), but now that he is almost
gone, he feels hate stir in him and his attempted resistance is a
total failure. The first time I read this, I really thought Frodo was
a goner and Strider was going to be the one to carry the Ring to the
Crack of Doom.

Barb

TeaLady (Mari C.)

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Apr 8, 2004, 10:50:02 PM4/8/04
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"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in
news:c5463c$2pb1ev$1...@ID-135975.news.uni-berlin.de:

I grew up trying to get people to pronounce the Boston Celtics
(Seltiks) the "proper" way (Keltics). I blame my grandparents,
one of whom was Welsh. Celeborn (k) was easy.

I also used to have fits when folks said mareenuhr instead of
mairehner (Mariner). Also due to grandparents.

--
mc

Henriette

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Apr 9, 2004, 4:44:06 AM4/9/04
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the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message news:<4gsa70tpuiqkk48ct...@4ax.com>...

> On 8 Apr 2004 04:29:29 -0700, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:
> >
> >I find this a moving part of the book, although I would like to know
> >what our Professor had in mind when he lets Sam repeatedly risk his
> >life for Frodo. Does Sam love Frodo that much? Is it a sense of duty?
> >Altruism?
> >
> He hasn't been paid his gardener fee for the month of September yet.
> "If Master dies, there goes my lucre!"
>
That does indeed explain it all! Thank you, softratje!

Henriette

aelfwina

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Apr 9, 2004, 9:21:14 AM4/9/04
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"Belba Grubb from Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message
news:oomb70174jvmmni44...@4ax.com...

> Yes. It's interesting that he has been surprisingly successful in
> resisting the Nazgul up til now (in the sense that he hasn't been
> killed or worse and still has the Ring), but now that he is almost
> gone, he feels hate stir in him and his attempted resistance is a
> total failure. The first time I read this, I really thought Frodo was
> a goner and Strider was going to be the one to carry the Ring to the
> Crack of Doom.

Oh, thank you! For 36 years I have felt like an idiot, because I thought
Frodo died at the end of this chapter. When I was able to get my heart out
of my mouth and turn the page to find him recovering with Gandalf there, I
was so relieved! But it's nice to know I wasn't the only person in the
world to have this reaction.
Barbara

>
> Barb


RoRowe

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Apr 9, 2004, 9:50:05 AM4/9/04
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> > >> I've always wondered just what that meant. Could Glorfindel really
> > >> have faced down all Nine Riders in a pinch?
>
> No he could not. Or at least not when he's on foot and the nine are
> mounted. On page 270 of FOTR Gandalf says to Frodo, "On foot even
> Glorfindel and Aragorn together could not withstand all the nine at
> once."
> So whether Glorfindel could have faced down all the nine if he was
> mounted on Asfaloth is a matter of speculation.

Gandalf faced down the Nine on Amon Sul, but he did so without
fighting them sword to sword. I suspect even Gandalf could not have
handled them in a nine-to-one physical confrontation though.

If the Nine were interested in pursuing Glorfindel, I suspect he would
have ridden them a merry chase and then found a way to pick them off
one or two at a time. As we know, planning and tactics were not the
strong points of the Nine, Witch King included.

the softrat

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Apr 9, 2004, 12:43:33 PM4/9/04
to
On 9 Apr 2004 01:44:06 -0700, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:
>
>That does indeed explain it all! Thank you, softratje!
>
Djor velkum.

the softrat
"I feel like I'm beating my head against a dead horse."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

It's like pushing a car uphill with a rope.

aelfwina

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Apr 9, 2004, 2:20:06 PM4/9/04
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"RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:a0dc4d0a.04040...@posting.google.com...

This is something I may have mentioned before: I think it is possible that
their enslavement to Sauron and the Ring may have had a negative effect on
their ability to act on their own initiative. There is no doubt that they
were 100% in Sauron's power; if at any time they thought of an idea on their
own, they had to wonder if "Master" would approve, and this could have
caused the hesitation that many have remarked upon.
Barbara


Glenn Holliday

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Apr 8, 2004, 6:07:45 PM4/8/04
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thestraw wrote:
>
> AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<slrnc76qmr.284....@alder.alberni.net>...
> > On Tue, 06 Apr 2004 19:39:36 -0400,
> > Glenn Holliday <holl...@acm.org> wrote:
> > > Steuard Jensen wrote:
> > >>
> > >> > [10] We're given a pretty good indication as to how powerful Glorifindel is.
> > >> > "There are few in Rivendell that can ride openly against the Nine; but such
...

> He did chase three nazgul off the bridge of Mitheithnel so he is
> certainly quite powerful but is he powerful enough to take on all the
> nine together? Anyway, couldn't the Witch King just break his sword
> like he did to Frodo?

Not necessarily. The Witch King clearly broke Frodo's sword (at the end of
the chapter, after Frodo is across the ford) by a specific act of magic.
The same spell against Glorfindel with an Elf-made sword might not have the
same effect. The Nazgul are a lesser grade of being than Glorfindel.

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


Kristian Damm Jensen

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Apr 9, 2004, 6:13:35 PM4/9/04
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Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:

A little late in coming, but some remarkable points, considering that the
rest of the group has had a go already.

> On 5 Apr 2004 03:26:52 GMT, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

<snip>

>> [2a] It seems even Strider at first cannot figure out why the Black
>> Riders withdrew.
>
> Him and me both (g). Well, I can see why they withdrew, thinking they
> had wounded Frodo with the knife and he would soon succumb to the
> wound.
>
> But I don't understand why they held off all the way to the Ford. If
> the reason was that they were waiting for the wound to overcome Frodo,
> then they would have held off while Strider and the hobbits too the
> much quicker route to Rivendell down the Road, one would think. Every
> now and then our heroes would pass a Nazgul lounging up against a
> standing stone while his horse grazed peacefully nearby; he'd peer
> significantly at his watch as they went by, hum several bars of "The
> Funeral March" and wave them casually through....(g)
>
> And when they realized Frodo was holding on, why didn't they attack
> our heroes before they reached the Ford? They had no trouble finding
> them in the dell at Weathertop, so why not in the other wild country?

One reason might be, that the Nazguûl had a hard time during the day. Makes
for hard tracking.

>> [2b] This is, for me at least, a key point for bother Strider and
>> Sam. Strider finally manages to convince Sam of his good intentions.
>
> I think so, too, although Frodo will later say he believed Sam still
> doubted Strider until Glorfindel showed up. What wins Sam's trust
> here may be Strider's healing attempts that do help somewhat
> (hmmm...foreshadowing the king's healing hands winning trust in the
> people of Gondor?)
>
> It tells us a lot about Sam, too. Back at the Buckleberry Ferry, it
> was said that Black Riders would have to ride over Sam to get to Frodo
> in the back of the wagon, but that was a little comical, and all he
> did was take the reins when Farmer Maggot acted. Here he actually
> draws his sword on the Chieftain of the Dunedain and Heir of Isildur,
> believing him to be a Black Rider. This may be the first time we see
> the heroic in Sam.

I agree. On the other hand Sam is never a classic hero (or warrior). He
only ever shows heis courage when he is fighting for Frodo, for a cause. A
very modern kind of hero. (I am at the moment reading Shippey "Author of
the century" (get it, now!) and is very influenced by his distinction
between the modern hobbits and the classic or heroic background, here
exemplified by Strider and Gandalf etc.)

<snip>

>> [9b] We also see Tolkien recycling and substantially reworking a
>> poem from 1936; "The Root of the Boot". I rather felt sorry for
>> Sam, that no one except Frodo really thought him up to the challenge
>> of making up a song.
>
> I didn't know about that earlier poem -- thanks.
>
> Pippin shows a very human side, too, wanting to get out of the troll
> hole and then going on ahead with Merry because he doesn't want to
> show Strider how scared he was. He did something a little similar in
> Bree, too, regarding how much of a load they could carry on their
> backs, wanting to show Strider he is tough. It kind of sets us up for
> his reaction to Denethor's initial harshness much later on in the
> story.

This is one of Tolkiens strong points. Even the relatively minor characters
like Pippin or Merry get their cameo-time in every chapter, each time
strengthening the general impression of their character. This is one of the
points where Pippin shows that he is more than just a comic sidekick. (Take
that PJ. Whatever did you make Pippin do until he met that repulsive
Denethor? (Sorry, couldn't resist that one. I'm not against the film on
principle, but some part just takes my bladder close to explosion due to
internal pressure of hot vapourous urine.)

>> [12] This deep cutting seems designed for pursuers to catch their
>> prey. If it were me, I might have left the Road again. Not that it
>> would have done much good once they reached the Ford. The Nine
>> indicate once again that their tactics are to wait until the
>> opportune moment. Could the attack at Weathertop been timed so that
>> Frodo would have succumbed by the time he reached the Fords?
>
> I think not because the Riders wouldn't have had any idea how long
> Frodo would resist the wound.

Since Frodo resisted a lot longer than even Gandalf would have expected, I
think you're right.

<snip>

--
Kristian Damm Jensen damm (at) ofir (dot) dk

If you pray hard enough you can make water run uphill. How hard? Why
hard enough to make water run uphill, of course. -- Robert A. Heinlein

AC

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Apr 9, 2004, 10:25:44 PM4/9/04
to

There's no doubt that the Nazgul had no will save for that of their master.
That is why they were the only servants of Sauron that He could trust to
send to hunt the Ring. At the same time, I think that they were capable of
action on their own to a certain extent. At least the Witch King must have
been capable of keeping his own council without Sauron leaning over his
shoulder. I think it would be better to think of them being able to
disobey, or even ponder disobeying Sauron.

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

aelfwina

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Apr 10, 2004, 12:39:18 AM4/10/04
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"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:slrnc7emp8.24o....@alder.alberni.net...

That's the very reason I wonder about it. Any idea they came up with on
their own, there must have been at least an instant of wondering: would
Master approve? Not enough to kill initiative entirely, but perhaps enough
to take some of their edge off.
Barbara

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


TT Arvind

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Apr 10, 2004, 8:08:56 AM4/10/04
to
Wes šu Henriette hal!

> I find this a moving part of the book, although I would like to know
> what our Professor had in mind when he lets Sam repeatedly risk his
> life for Frodo. Does Sam love Frodo that much? Is it a sense of duty?
> Altruism?

I suppose it would have been based on his memories of the War, when
people did risk their lives for their friends. There is much in the Sam
- Frodo relationship that is remniscent of the friendships that you see
reflected in the accounts of some soldiers.

--
It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

Taemon

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Apr 10, 2004, 10:51:53 AM4/10/04
to
TT Arvind wrote:

> I suppose it would have been based on his memories of the
> War, when people did risk their lives for their friends.
> There is much in the Sam - Frodo relationship that is
> remniscent of the friendships that you see reflected in
> the accounts of some soldiers.

But this is only one-way. Sam is always ready to sacrifice
himself for Frodo, but not the other way around. This
master-servant relationship doesn't remind me at all of male
bonded soldiers.

T.


Glenn Holliday

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Apr 10, 2004, 11:48:18 AM4/10/04
to
Taemon wrote:

>
> TT Arvind wrote:
>
> > There is much in the Sam - Frodo relationship that is
> > remniscent of the friendships that you see reflected in
> > the accounts of some soldiers.
>
> But this is only one-way. Sam is always ready to sacrifice
> himself for Frodo, but not the other way around.

I don't agree here.

> This
> master-servant relationship doesn't remind me at all of male
> bonded soldiers.

Frodo-Sam is a complicated and many-layered relationship.
Master-servant was alive and well in Tolkien's world, and
it certainly forms the bottom layer of Frodo-Sam. Frodo
is a landowner, and Sam his gardener.

But it develops over the course of the book. It's clear by
the end of FOTR that Frodo has come to appreciate Sam
for Sam's own qualities, not just because those qualities
are useful. Sam always treats Frodo as Master, but Frodo
begins to treat Sam as friend.

Frodo is very much willing to sacrifice himself for Sam.
In the larger sense Frodo does. He sacrifices himself
for the entire world, and the Ring thoroughly breaks him
in the process. Sam is the one closest to Frodo to remind
Frodo of who and why he is making the sacrifice.

I admit that's an abstract interpretation of "Frodo
sacrifices himself for Sam." As the plot works out,
Frodo is always the one who needs to be saved. There
are only minor examples of Frodo risking himself for
Sam. One is when Frodo pulls Sam out of the River at
Amon Hen. It's clear to me that Frodo is always ready
to sacrifice himself for Sam, even though he doesn't
get the opportunity to prove it.

By the time they are approaching and then crossing Mordor,
I think soldier-comrades is a good description of the
pair. I think one of the reasons Tolkien had them dress
as Orc soldiers for part of the journey was exactly to
point this out to us.

But I'm getting ahead of chapter 12 ...

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

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Apr 10, 2004, 3:12:30 PM4/10/04
to
On Sat, 10 Apr 2004 00:13:35 +0200, "Kristian Damm Jensen"
<REdam...@ofir.dk> wrote:

>Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:
>
>A little late in coming, but some remarkable points, considering that the
>rest of the group has had a go already.

Thank you! (It's just been a little hectic here during the work
week.)

(snip)

>> And when they realized Frodo was holding on, why didn't they attack
>> our heroes before they reached the Ford? They had no trouble finding
>> them in the dell at Weathertop, so why not in the other wild country?
>
>One reason might be, that the Nazguûl had a hard time during the day. Makes
>for hard tracking.

Hmm, yes, they did have a hard time tracking the three hobbits from
Hobbiton to the Woody End, even on the roads there, having to sniff
around even when they got close. And when the hobbits cut across
country the Nazgul seem to have stuck to the roads and tried bribing
the locals to turn them in when they finally showed up somewhere,
which would also indicate poor tracking ability.

>>> [2b] This is, for me at least, a key point for bother Strider and
>>> Sam. Strider finally manages to convince Sam of his good intentions.
>>
>> I think so, too, although Frodo will later say he believed Sam still
>> doubted Strider until Glorfindel showed up. What wins Sam's trust
>> here may be Strider's healing attempts that do help somewhat
>> (hmmm...foreshadowing the king's healing hands winning trust in the
>> people of Gondor?)
>>
>> It tells us a lot about Sam, too. Back at the Buckleberry Ferry, it
>> was said that Black Riders would have to ride over Sam to get to Frodo
>> in the back of the wagon, but that was a little comical, and all he
>> did was take the reins when Farmer Maggot acted. Here he actually
>> draws his sword on the Chieftain of the Dunedain and Heir of Isildur,
>> believing him to be a Black Rider. This may be the first time we see
>> the heroic in Sam.
>
>I agree. On the other hand Sam is never a classic hero (or warrior). He
>only ever shows heis courage when he is fighting for Frodo, for a cause. A
>very modern kind of hero. (I am at the moment reading Shippey "Author of
>the century" (get it, now!) and is very influenced by his distinction
>between the modern hobbits and the classic or heroic background, here
>exemplified by Strider and Gandalf etc.)

Another book to read...thanks!

(snip, snip)

>> Pippin shows a very human side, too, wanting to get out of the troll
>> hole and then going on ahead with Merry because he doesn't want to
>> show Strider how scared he was. He did something a little similar in
>> Bree, too, regarding how much of a load they could carry on their
>> backs, wanting to show Strider he is tough. It kind of sets us up for
>> his reaction to Denethor's initial harshness much later on in the
>> story.
>
>This is one of Tolkiens strong points. Even the relatively minor characters
>like Pippin or Merry get their cameo-time in every chapter, each time
>strengthening the general impression of their character. This is one of the
>points where Pippin shows that he is more than just a comic sidekick. (Take
>that PJ. Whatever did you make Pippin do until he met that repulsive
>Denethor? (Sorry, couldn't resist that one. I'm not against the film on
>principle, but some part just takes my bladder close to explosion due to
>internal pressure of hot vapourous urine.)

Next time, don't get one of those big sodas before you go into the
theater (g). Better still, skip the movie if you don't think it's
going to live up to your expectations; I saved a fortune in antacids
and therapist bills that way.

;^)
"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the
kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in
measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above
hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
-- Thorin Oakenshield, to Bilbo

Brenda Selwyn

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Apr 10, 2004, 6:48:20 PM4/10/04
to
>AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>Ch. o/t Wk: LoTR Bk 1 Ch. 12: "Flight to the Ford"

Excellent summary. Already we are at the end of Book 1. Before we
know it, it will be March 2005:-)


>Throughout this entire chapter, Tolkien paints the empty lands between the
>Shire and Rivendell as bleak and empty, filled with ruins and threats. Much
>of this chapter is dedicated to reiterating just how difficult travel here
>is.

This is one of the things I really like about LOTR. Just about every
day of the journey is described, because every journey is made of
small steps, and every day is a struggle.

This comment really belongs later as it strikes me more strongly
during Sam & Frodo's journey to and through Mordor, but one thing
which comes out clearly to me in LOTR is how we are all tied by human
physical limitations. However urgent the journey, however vital the
quest, its pace must be governed by the basic human needs for food,
water and sleep.


>[9a] I've always found the Troll sequence a bit odd and misplaced, like a
>part of the early chapters transplanted in to what is the much darker book
>that LotR has become.

I think it is needed to ease the tension at this point. It also
reminds us, and the travellers, that Thorin & Co were saved from an
apparently hopeless situation, so they might be too. Interesting that
in both cases they were saved by the arrival of "the cavalry", in the
form of Gandalf and Glorfindel.

Comparing this section with TH shows up a quite serious discrepancy
concerning distance. In TH the Trollshaws are placed an hour's ride
from the "stone bridge", presumably the Last Bridge. However, in LOTR
it takes the party several days to reach them. Even allowing for the
party having gone much too far North, this doesn't really add up.
It's particularly noticeable because Tolkien is usually so careful
about this sort of thing.


>[9b] We also see Tolkien recycling and substantially reworking a poem from
>1936; "The Root of the Boot". I rather felt sorry for Sam, that no one
>except Frodo really thought him up to the challenge of making up a song.

The reader probably doesn't think he's up to it either! We are
constantly being given small reminders that we are underestimating
Sam, so that his later actions seem plausible.


>[11] Again we see Frodo worsening. This is clearly part of the fading, and
>reminds me of how the world looks to someone wearing the Ring.

Does it always look so to someone wearing the Ring? I've mentioned
this in a couple of other recent posts - that this obscuring of vision
in the context of wearing the Ring isn't mentioned before Amon Hen (or
at all in TH). Is this just because it's not mentioned for some
reason, or because it doesn't happen?

I find the description of Frodo's fading throughout this chapter very
evocative, following a plausible and frightening progression. I
particularly like the description of a shadow falling between him and
the faces of his friends - it feels as though this shadow is more than
a physical loss of vision, but also a sign of a growing psychological
separation. At the same time we are told as "the sun began to sink
the mist before his eyes had darkened", but just 24 hours later that
he "almost welcomed the coming of night, for then the world seemed
less pale and empty"; a subtle shift as he moves further into the
Wraith-world. And at the end,

> Now the Riders seem
>more real than all else, clearly indicating that Frodo is now near the end.

We realise how narrow an escape Frodo has, and what a terrible fate he
has escaped.

It has just struck me there is no mention of Frodo "fading" in his
companions' eyes. One might have expected him to appear increasingly
pale and insubstantial to them as time progressed. In the next
chapter Gandalf notes a hint of transparency about him, but nothing is
said here.

It seems to me we get more of a gimpse into the Wraith-world in this
chapter than any other. Not only Frodo's fading, but also
Glorfindel's telling of evil things written on the hilt of the Morgul
Blade which the others cannot see.


>[12] This deep cutting seems designed for pursuers to catch their prey. If
>it were me, I might have left the Road again. Not that it would have done
>much good once they reached the Ford. The Nine indicate once again that
>their tactics are to wait until the opportune moment. Could the attack at
>Weathertop been timed so that Frodo would have succumbed by the time he
>reached the Fords?

I doubt this was their original plan. Gandalf lays out their probable
plan very plausibly in the next chapter. This is just my conjecture
based on Gandalf's comments about the shard working its way inwards,
but my feeling is if the Witch-King has succeeded in his original aim
of striking Frodo through the heart, Frodo would have succumbed
completely in a matter of minutes, not days. The Ringwraiths make it
quite clear at the Ford that they want Frodo as well as the Ring - "To
Mordor we will take you!" - so he (and the Ring) would then have been
carried straight off to Mordor, where I understand Sauron was
particularly anxious to meet him. Anyone else who got in the way
would simply have been killed.

>[7] I don't know about anybody else, but the first time I read this chapter,
>I was convinced that they were going to be attacked at the Last Bridge.

However, Frodo having put the Witch-King off his stroke, they were
forced to fall back on Plan B, which involved waiting for a suitable
moment to attack again, probably at the Last Bridge if they hadn't
been scared off by Glorfindel. It would have been their hope (and
probably expectation) that Frodo would have succumbed by then, but I
don't think it was essential to the plan.


>[13c] Frodo truly shows his mettle here. Though the situation seems
>hopeless (and would have been if Elrond had not flooded the Bruinen), Frodo
>tries to be defiant. Tolkien does an extraordinary job of showing both his
>strength and his complete vulnerability. He cannot hope to defy the Nine
>gathered together, and yet he does try. For me at least, this is a major
>moment of character growth for Frodo. In a way, he ceases to be a Shire
>Hobbit, but a hero, an elf-friend in the tradition of Beren, Hurin and
>Turin.

Yes - one of my favourite parts and "By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair,
you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" one of my favourite quotes.
One of the very few things I truly missed from the films.

Brenda

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

"Out of these dreams, a boat, /I will sail home to you".

Shanahan

unread,
Apr 11, 2004, 12:14:30 AM4/11/04
to
>Glenn Holliday wrote:
>> Taemon wrote:
>>> TT Arvind wrote:
>>> There is much in the Sam - Frodo relationship that is
>>> remniscent of the friendships that you see reflected in
>>> the accounts of some soldiers.
>>
>> But this is only one-way. Sam is always ready to sacrifice
>> himself for Frodo, but not the other way around.
>
> I don't agree here.
>
>> This master-servant relationship doesn't remind me at all of male
>> bonded soldiers.
>
> Frodo-Sam is a complicated and many-layered relationship.
> Master-servant was alive and well in Tolkien's world
<snip>

> By the time they are approaching and then crossing Mordor,
> I think soldier-comrades is a good description of the
> pair. I think one of the reasons Tolkien had them dress
> as Orc soldiers for part of the journey was exactly to
> point this out to us.

Nice insight. <s>

In one of the documentaries for the movie EE TTT, it's pointed out that
the relationship between Frodo and Sam is not merely that of two
comrades-in-arms. It is very specifically that between an officer and his
'batman', a personal servant. So it is meant to be *both* a
master-servant relationship, and one of male-bonded soldiers in war.
(Wow, something *useful* from Peter Jackson? Bookwraiths beware shock!)

I think it's safe to assume that the bond went both ways, and involved
mutual love as well as mutual loyalty.

- Ciaran S.
______________________________________________
this, the bond that launched ten thousand fanfics...<g>

Shanahan

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Apr 11, 2004, 12:31:21 AM4/11/04
to
>Brenda Selwyn wrote:
>>> AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
<snip>

>> [11] Again we see Frodo worsening. This is clearly part of the
>> fading, and reminds me of how the world looks to someone wearing the
>> Ring.
>
> Does it always look so to someone wearing the Ring? I've mentioned
> this in a couple of other recent posts - that this obscuring of vision
> in the context of wearing the Ring isn't mentioned before Amon Hen (or
> at all in TH). Is this just because it's not mentioned for some
> reason, or because it doesn't happen?
<'nother snip>

I think it has to do with the Ring's relative power. It doesn't happen
with Bilbo at all, apparently, and it happened to Frodo/Sam as they
approached Mordor more closely, as the Ring "approached the places of its
forging". When the Ring is stronger, it takes its wearer further into the
wraithworld, so that this world fades and the shadow-world becomes clear.
Now this brings up the question of why it happens on Weathertop... perhaps
because five of the Nine are present, and they give It a power boost?

- Ciaran S.
______________________________________________
"It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most
of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused,
not be people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad,
but by people being fundamentally people."
-gaiman and pratchett


Taemon

unread,
Apr 11, 2004, 6:45:05 AM4/11/04
to
Shanahan wrote:

> > Glenn Holliday wrote:
> > > Taemon wrote:
> > > This master-servant relationship doesn't remind me at
> > > all of male bonded soldiers.

> <snip>
> > By the time they are approaching and then crossing
> > Mordor, I think soldier-comrades is a good description
> > of the pair. I think one of the reasons Tolkien had
> > them dress as Orc soldiers for part of the journey was
> > exactly to point this out to us.
> Nice insight. <s>

I agree, nice insight.

> In one of the documentaries for the movie EE TTT, it's
> pointed out that the relationship between Frodo and Sam
> is not merely that of two comrades-in-arms. It is very
> specifically that between an officer and his 'batman', a
> personal servant.

Yes, that is the direction in which I was thinking. You see this
two-people-together-in-peril bonding but also a clear
master/servant-relationship. Although I do not doubt that Frodo
loves Sam as much as anyone, he is clearly the "Master". Take for
one the Cirith Ungol-situation. Frodo is presumed dead, Sam takes
the ring. But when orcs come and take the body, he forsakes the
quest (and thus Middle-Earth) for Frodo. His place is at Frodo's
side. But imagine if it had been Sam who was lying dead there and
Frodo going on with the ring? Do you think Frodo would have gone
back to die next to Sam's body? Sam's loyalty is for Frodo first
and he would sacrifice everyone for him. Frodo's loyalty is for
Sam through Middle-Earth and he would sacrifice Sam for
Middle-Earth. Thus Sam is the quintessential servant and their
loyalty is not equal.

T.


Henriette

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Apr 11, 2004, 3:51:25 PM4/11/04