CotW; LOTR BK2, Ch10, The Breaking of the Fellowship

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Michelle J. Haines

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Jun 21, 2004, 4:37:46 PM6/21/04
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First, I'll start by apologizing that this is a little late in the
day. Our teeny little town's chili cook-off was this weekend, which
kept us all busy and today I'm giving my daughter her second-grade
test. Better late than never, right?

As usual, my comments on the book are interspersed. Footnotes are
almost always movie comments, for those who don't care to read them.
:)
-------------------

We begin with a description of the area -- the arm of the river on
the right side of Tol Brandir, a green lawn running from the water to
the feel of Amon Hen, behind that a tree-covered hill, with trees
surrounding the lake. A small stream flows down from the hill to
water the grass of the lawn. The lawn itself is referred to several
times as Parth Galen. Anyone know what "Parth Galen" means?

The Company spends the night at PG, and we get another indication of
Aragorn's sensitivity when he's restless, wakes up, and asks Frodo to
draw Sting, which shows Orcs are prowling around. Maybe not close,
but too close for comfort.

In the morning, we get a lovely description of Tol Brandir in the
sunrise, then the Company breakfasts and Aragorn very formally calls
a council to decide what to do next. Maybe not very formally for
what Tolkien might think, but to me the passage always sounds very
measured and kingly. No one responds to his opening words, and while
it's said that no one spoke or moved for a long time, you can just
imagine the uncomfortable feeling rising, with no one daring to
twitch.

Finally, Aragorn lays the choice at Frodo's feet. He has to decide
where to go, and then everyone else must make their choices based on
that. Frodo is distressed by what he has to face, and requests an
hour to himself to weigh the possibilities. Shrewd Sam sees the
problem immediately -- Frodo knows he has to go to Mordor, but is
afraid. He also notes that Boromir is eyeing Frodo's movements too
closely.

Frodo wanders a bit aimlessly, going up the hill until he find a path
(which used to be an old road) and crumbling stairs [1]. I always
liked how bits of old civilisation are just lying around Tolkien's
world, to be stumbled across[2]. It makes the whole place seem very
old. Also, Tolkien seems to have a soft spot for Rowan trees.
They're only briefly mentioned here; it isn't until Merry and Pippin
get to Fangorn that they're described with much affection. I don't
think we have Rowan trees in the States -- not natively, anyway. I'm
not sure what they look like, even with the later description.

Frodo has climbed so high that the river is far below him, and he
seems to be level with the birds nesting on Tol Brandir. I'm a
little unsure if he's level with the peak, but at least high enough
to be level with the grey rock of the earlier Tol Brandir
description. I think. He sits on a stone to ponder all the events
and try to make a decision, but gets nowhere. He suddenly has a
feeling of being watched (and not in a nice way) and jumps up to find
it is Boromir.

Boromir is there to persuade Frodo to take the road to Minas Tirith.
Frodo lays out his basic problem -- he knows what he has to do, he's
just afraid to do it -- and he's concerned that going to the city
will simply cause needless delay and cause other problems with the
Men.

Boromir's arguments first go from wanting to see the Ring, then
rejects the argument that it could only be used for good. He quickly
goes on to point out what good Aragorn could do with the Ring, then
further points out what HE could do with it. He goes on raving about
the power of Command, driving the hosts of Mordor before him, men
flocking to his banners, walls, weapons, alliances, becoming a great
king himself. I can just see him stomping around, waving his arms
and ranting while oblivious to his surroundings. I think if I were
Frodo, I would have high-tailed it out of there pretty quickly. I
find his whole demeanor frightening.[3][4]

Frodo very diplomatically says that Boromir has made his choice very
clear to him -- which includes getting away from Boromir as fast as
possible, :) Boromir now presses many reasons on Frodo to come to
Boromir's city -- come for a little while, you need rest, you need
intelligence information, you can just TRY my plan, lend me the Ring
for a little while, this whole plan is stupid to begin with, it never
belonged to you in the first place, it COULD have been mind, it
SHOULD be mine, now HAND IT OVER!!! This whole cascade into sudden
violence always gives me a shiver.

Boromir springs to attack Frodo, who dodges him and puts on the Ring
to escape. Still, Boromir rants -- now deluded into thinking Frodo
is going to sell them out to Sauron! He finally knocks some sense
into himself tripping on a rock -- or perhaps Frodo gets far enough
away the the Ring isn't affecting him as strongly -- and feels
terrible, but of course it's too late to apologize. Frodo has done
the sensible thing and run away from the violent, crazy person.

He reaches the top of Amon Hen, also named the Seat of Seeing, and
The Hill of the Eye of the Men of Numenor. Each way he looks, he can
see long distances, although he can't hear anything. Presumably,
Amon Lhaw (probably also called the Seat of Hearing and The Hill of
the Ear of the Men of Numenor) works the same way, but with an
expanded auditory sense, rather than visual. So, what is the purpose
of these two hills? They seem quite far away from Gondor or Arnor to
have been used with any regularity. They don't appear to be useful
for any form of two-way communication. They also seem to be too far
away from each other to be particularly useful. If you see something
from Amon Hen that you need to investigate further, it would take
some time to get down and over to Amon Lhaw to then listen to what's
going on. Likewise, if you're on Amon Lhaw and hear something
noteworthy, it would be inconvenient to get across the river to Amon
Hen to then visually pinpoint it. They seem to be some sort of
Palantir on the top of a hill, but not able to move, and less
flexible about what they can transmit. How were they made? Is this
more "magic that isn't magic?"

Anyway, we get an interesting description of what's going on from
Frodo's point of view. First we get a basic description of the
landscape in each direction, then a more bleak view of the signs of
war. Orcs in the Misty Mountains, fighting in Mirkwood, fire among
the Beornings, clouds over Moria, and smoke on the borders of Lorien.
Horseman galloping across Rohan, wolves from Isenguard, Haradian
ships of war, huge masses of armies from the East. In Frodo's place,
it would be hard to avoid despair. He looks South, first towards
Minas Tirith, then his eye is drawn towards Minas Morgul and then to
Barad-dur, where WHOOPS! Sauron catches his supernatural spying.

Here's another scene that always gives me the shivers -- Sauron's
will leaps out like a long arm, and wow does it find him fast!
Before he can barely take a breath, it's touched Amon Lhaw and then
Tol Brandir, and Frodo can't tell if he's denying Sauron or
capitulating to him! Gandalf intervenes, in a fashion that's very
Gandalf, trying to assist.

This next paragraph I always found fascinating:
"The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced
between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he
was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye:
free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so."

So, Gandalf's help torments Frodo nearly as much as Sauron's
malevolence. And who intervenes to wipe out both influences and
allow him to make his own choice? Is this another example of Divine
Influence helping Frodo? I like to think so.

Then we have:
"A black shadow seemed to pass like an arm above him; it missed Amon
Hen and groped out west, and faded."

YIKES! Talked about being brushed by the hand of death!

Frodo is tired, but has made up his mind to go to Mordor alone, so
the Ring cannot affect any more members of the Company. He hears
everyone searching for him, and puts on the Ring to give them the
slip.

We go back in time a little to see the events from the perspective of
the Company. They chat for a while, discussing Frodo's choices and
their own. The general consensus seems to be they'd like to go to
Minas Tirith, but will follow Frodo to Mordor if he chooses that way.
Merry and Pippin seem to think Frodo should be prevented from going
there altogether -- um, OK. This always makes me wonder if they've
been wandering about with their fingers in their ears up until now.
The whole POINT is to go to Mordor, gentlemen!

Aragorn, if the decision were up to him, would go with Frodo, Sam,
Gimli, and himself to Mordor, and Legolas only if he insisted. I'm
really interested to hear what others have to say about his choices
here. Sam is obvious to go along for the reasons stated -- he won't
be left behind anyway. Aragorn is the best traveled. Merry and
Pippin are the obvious choices to be left behind, and Boromir's
always been forward about being with the Company only until he can
get home. But, why Gimli over Legolas? Would anyone choose Legolas
over Gimli? Anyone who would want to take both, or neither of them?

Sam bursts into the discussion, summarizing Frodo's dilemma perfectly
-- going to Minas Tirith is only needless delay, and the only
decision is to go directly to Mordor, but Frodo is afraid to do it.
Again, we must applaud the perceptiveness of Sam.

Boromir shows up, practically slinking into camp with a hang-dog
look. He's quickly questioned, and none too nicely, by Aragorn, to
discover that Frodo has been missing for something between a half an
hour to an hour.

Everyone but Aragorn and Boromir immediately panics, and starts
running and yelling for Frodo. I thought this perfectly in character
for the Hobbits, but you wouldn't think that Legolas or Gimli would
be prone to that sort of silliness and thoughtlessness of the
surroundings and potential danger. Aragorn attempts to put some
order to the chaos, but it's an entirely futile attempt -- like
herding butterflies -- so he gives Boromir orders to follow Merry and
Pippin, and then chases after Sam himself.

Aragorn seems to be prone to a bit of silliness himself, however,
since he catches up with Sam, and then immediately forgets Sam is
half his size and can't run as fast, leaving Sam panting for breath
and choking on Aragorn's proverbial dust. So, Sam applies his
considerable logic skills to the problem, and figures out that Frodo
has made his decision, and that Frodo needs a boat and gear to get to
Mordor, so goes running back to the encampment. He's just in the
nick of time, as Frodo is already in the water and on the way. A
flying leap into the river results in Sam now needing to be rescued
by Frodo, since Sam lacks swimming skills. They have a little, "I'm
going alone." and "Over my dead body you are!" exchange, pick up
Sam's gear, and head off. They leave the boat, and start off to Emyn
Muil.

My last comments are simply that in my personal opinion, this wasn't
exactly the perfect place to break the story. I think the next
chapter also belong in this book, as the Fellowship isn't truly
broken until Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli also make their final
decision on which way to go. Not to mention knowing what's going on
with Merry, Pippin, and Boromir. Putting the Departure chapter here,
and then starting the second book The Riders and The Uruk-Hai would
have balanced out much better, IMO. Or even rearranging slightly --
first following Aragorn up to Amon Hen and through the Departure,
then backing up to follow Sam. I don't know, I've been reading the
books for a long time, but this is just one niggling point that
always nags at me when I read it, leaving me feeling just a splinter
of dissatisfaction. The next chapter is just in the wrong place,
darn it! :)

OK, comment away!

[1] This immediately (for me) brings to mind the movie scene where
the one Orc is mincing delicately down the stairs so he doesn't fall.
It cracks me up every time I see it, even in the midst of the
seriousness of the scene.

[2] One of the "they got it right" movie places for me. Bits of
architecture and statues are often lying about in the movies, too.

[3] As I've said, this scene and the ones following are some of my
favorite in the movies. And this particular one highlights much of
the difference between movie-Boromir and book-Boromir and what makes
movie-Boromir a more sympathetic character. Movie-Boromir is a man
desperate to save his people, without much other ambition that we see
-- or if he would "see the glory of Gondor restored", you don't get
much personal ambition in that wish. Book-Boromir sees himself as a
mighty king, supplanting his father and Aragorn and ruling the world.

[4] Having said that, I'm also always a little surprised when I read
this and find out how close to the book scene the movie scene is.
Nearly all the lines are straight out of the book, although a few of
the lines have been displaced. One to the Council of Elrond and one
to the Caradhras scene.

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]

Simon J. Rowe

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Jun 21, 2004, 4:50:02 PM6/21/04
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Michelle J. Haines wrote:

> Anyone know what "Parth Galen" means?

'The Tolkien Companion' states it is Sindarin for Green Lawn, which sounds
plausible.

Simon

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Jun 21, 2004, 6:59:22 PM6/21/04
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In rec.arts.books.tolkien Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
> Also, Tolkien seems to have a soft spot for Rowan trees.
> They're only briefly mentioned here; it isn't until Merry and Pippin
> get to Fangorn that they're described with much affection. I don't
> think we have Rowan trees in the States -- not natively, anyway. I'm
> not sure what they look like, even with the later description.

They are often called "mountain-ash". There are species in
both Europe and North America. They have branches that point
generally upwards, and the branches have long stems with small
pointed leaves running down both sides and at the end, like an
ash tree or a walnut tree. They come out in white flowers in
the spring, and IIRC they have berries on them both in the
spring and in the fall. They are in the genus Sorbus, in the
family Rosaceae, making them closely related to roses despite
not looking like them, hence Quickbeam's comment about "the
people of the Rose". Some links with good pictures:

http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-89.pdf

http://www.2020site.org/trees/rowan.html

http://www.british-trees.com/guide/rowan.htm

http://www.wellesley.edu/Activities/homepage/web/Species/pashmountain.html

I didn't really notice them until having read LOTR either.
However, my parents got one for the backyard shortly after I
read it, and I helped plant it and have seen it grow for about
25 years now!

--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.)

Öjevind Lång

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Jun 21, 2004, 7:21:13 PM6/21/04
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"Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@io.nanc.com> skrev i meddelandet
news:MPG.1b40f502b...@news.Qwest.net...
>
[snip]

> Presumably,
> Amon Lhaw (probably also called the Seat of Hearing and The Hill of
> the Ear of the Men of Numenor) works the same way, but with an
> expanded auditory sense, rather than visual. So, what is the purpose
> of these two hills? They seem quite far away from Gondor or Arnor to
> have been used with any regularity. They don't appear to be useful
> for any form of two-way communication. They also seem to be too far
> away from each other to be particularly useful. If you see something
> from Amon Hen that you need to investigate further, it would take
> some time to get down and over to Amon Lhaw to then listen to what's
> going on. Likewise, if you're on Amon Lhaw and hear something
> noteworthy, it would be inconvenient to get across the river to Amon
> Hen to then visually pinpoint it. They seem to be some sort of
> Palantir on the top of a hill, but not able to move, and less
> flexible about what they can transmit. How were they made? Is this
> more "magic that isn't magic?"

I think they were simply sighting posts to keep a lookout for invading
barbarians in the days of Gondor's greatness. Or perhaps the Gondorian
Kings, who could see more than other Men, actually were able to perceive
things very far away when they sat there, even though they wore no Ring of
Power.
I also think the expressions "Sight" and "Hearing" should not be taken too
literally.

[snip]

> Here's another scene that always gives me the shivers -- Sauron's
> will leaps out like a long arm, and wow does it find him fast!
> Before he can barely take a breath, it's touched Amon Lhaw and then
> Tol Brandir, and Frodo can't tell if he's denying Sauron or
> capitulating to him! Gandalf intervenes, in a fashion that's very
> Gandalf, trying to assist.
>
> This next paragraph I always found fascinating:
> "The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced
> between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he
> was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye:
> free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so."
>
> So, Gandalf's help torments Frodo nearly as much as Sauron's
> malevolence. And who intervenes to wipe out both influences and
> allow him to make his own choice? Is this another example of Divine
> Influence helping Frodo? I like to think so.

My opinion is that in this passage Tolkien, as a good Catholic, affirms free
will: at this moment, Frodo is free to choose on his own, without the
pressure from either Sauron or Gandalf able to affect him. At this moment,
he is "Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one
remaining instant in which to do so." I find that beautiful.

Öjevind


Michelle J. Haines

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Jun 21, 2004, 7:24:53 PM6/21/04
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In article <2jp7iaF...@uni-berlin.de>, m...@privacy.net says...

>
> They are often called "mountain-ash". There are species in
> both Europe and North America.

Ah. They look familiar now. I've seen them planted in Colorado a
lot. Not very common here in Wyoming, though. Too dry, maybe.

aelfwina

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Jun 22, 2004, 2:09:32 AM6/22/04
to

"Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b40f502b...@news.Qwest.net...

>
> First, I'll start by apologizing that this is a little late in the
> day. Our teeny little town's chili cook-off was this weekend, which
> kept us all busy and today I'm giving my daughter her second-grade
> test. Better late than never, right?
>
> As usual, my comments on the book are interspersed. Footnotes are
> almost always movie comments, for those who don't care to read them.
> :)
> -------------------
>
> We begin with a description of the area -- the arm of the river on
> the right side of Tol Brandir, a green lawn running from the water to
> the feel of Amon Hen, behind that a tree-covered hill, with trees
> surrounding the lake. A small stream flows down from the hill to
> water the grass of the lawn. The lawn itself is referred to several
> times as Parth Galen. Anyone know what "Parth Galen" means?
>
> The Company spends the night at PG, and we get another indication of
> Aragorn's sensitivity when he's restless, wakes up, and asks Frodo to
> draw Sting, which shows Orcs are prowling around. Maybe not close,
> but too close for comfort.

Once a ranger, always a ranger. He's definitely a light sleeper.


>
> In the morning, we get a lovely description of Tol Brandir in the
> sunrise, then the Company breakfasts and Aragorn very formally calls
> a council to decide what to do next. Maybe not very formally for
> what Tolkien might think, but to me the passage always sounds very
> measured and kingly. No one responds to his opening words, and while
> it's said that no one spoke or moved for a long time, you can just
> imagine the uncomfortable feeling rising, with no one daring to
> twitch.
>
> Finally, Aragorn lays the choice at Frodo's feet. He has to decide
> where to go, and then everyone else must make their choices based on
> that. Frodo is distressed by what he has to face, and requests an
> hour to himself to weigh the possibilities. Shrewd Sam sees the
> problem immediately -- Frodo knows he has to go to Mordor, but is
> afraid. He also notes that Boromir is eyeing Frodo's movements too
> closely.

In moments like these, when the really serious decisions are laid at Frodo's
feet alone, you begin to see an additional burden to being Ring-bearer. I
am put in mind of the way Gandalf lay the burden of deciding to go through
Moria at Frodo's feet as well.

>
> Frodo wanders a bit aimlessly, going up the hill until he find a path
> (which used to be an old road) and crumbling stairs [1]. I always
> liked how bits of old civilisation are just lying around Tolkien's
> world, to be stumbled across[2]. It makes the whole place seem very
> old. Also, Tolkien seems to have a soft spot for Rowan trees.
> They're only briefly mentioned here; it isn't until Merry and Pippin
> get to Fangorn that they're described with much affection. I don't
> think we have Rowan trees in the States -- not natively, anyway. I'm
> not sure what they look like, even with the later description.

Yes, I also like the casual appearance of ruins all about Middle-earth.


>
> Frodo has climbed so high that the river is far below him, and he
> seems to be level with the birds nesting on Tol Brandir. I'm a
> little unsure if he's level with the peak, but at least high enough
> to be level with the grey rock of the earlier Tol Brandir
> description. I think. He sits on a stone to ponder all the events
> and try to make a decision, but gets nowhere. He suddenly has a
> feeling of being watched (and not in a nice way) and jumps up to find
> it is Boromir.
>
> Boromir is there to persuade Frodo to take the road to Minas Tirith.
> Frodo lays out his basic problem -- he knows what he has to do, he's
> just afraid to do it -- and he's concerned that going to the city
> will simply cause needless delay and cause other problems with the
> Men.
>
> Boromir's arguments first go from wanting to see the Ring, then
> rejects the argument that it could only be used for good. He quickly
> goes on to point out what good Aragorn could do with the Ring, then
> further points out what HE could do with it. He goes on raving about
> the power of Command, driving the hosts of Mordor before him, men
> flocking to his banners, walls, weapons, alliances, becoming a great
> king himself. I can just see him stomping around, waving his arms
> and ranting while oblivious to his surroundings. I think if I were
> Frodo, I would have high-tailed it out of there pretty quickly. I
> find his whole demeanor frightening.[3][4]

Yes, this is a pretty creepy scene. You can just imagine the Ring
"whispering" in Boromir's ear. Puts me in mind of the "voices"
schizophrenics hear.

>
> Frodo very diplomatically says that Boromir has made his choice very
> clear to him -- which includes getting away from Boromir as fast as
> possible, :) Boromir now presses many reasons on Frodo to come to
> Boromir's city -- come for a little while, you need rest, you need
> intelligence information, you can just TRY my plan, lend me the Ring
> for a little while, this whole plan is stupid to begin with, it never
> belonged to you in the first place, it COULD have been mind, it
> SHOULD be mine, now HAND IT OVER!!! This whole cascade into sudden
> violence always gives me a shiver.
>
> Boromir springs to attack Frodo, who dodges him and puts on the Ring
> to escape. Still, Boromir rants -- now deluded into thinking Frodo
> is going to sell them out to Sauron! He finally knocks some sense
> into himself tripping on a rock -- or perhaps Frodo gets far enough
> away the the Ring isn't affecting him as strongly -- and feels
> terrible, but of course it's too late to apologize. Frodo has done
> the sensible thing and run away from the violent, crazy person.

I had always thought that it was the tripping and falling that somehow
brought Boromir to his senses, or as you said, Frodo removing the Ring from
his vicinity.
However, someone else pointed out to me that the Ring's power to tempt was
a lot stronger than that for most people--Saruman and Denethor never even
lay eyes on it, for heaven's sake,--and that being able to throw off that
temptation after yielding to it showed great strength of character (like
kicking an addiction cold turkey). As they said, even invisible, he could
probably have chased Frodo down. It's an interesting point of view that
makes Boromir's subsequent actions that much more admirable.

And of course, JRRT does not *say* outright that it is Gandalf in the story,
and in fact, Frodo does not realize this at all. I must say that it is
pretty subtle, and in my first reading years ago, I thought I was pretty
clever when I began to suspect at this point that Gandalf was not dead.
However, "take it off, you fool!" was pretty much a giveaway, LOL!

No, I think that they know perfectly well. But at this point the two of
them are scared spitless, not only for themselves, but for their beloved
Frodo as well. They are understandably wishing to avoid the deadly choice,
and maybe hoping that by putting it off, some miracle will intervene. A bit
of sticking their heads in the sand, really, but knowing they did. After
all, the two of them are less concerned with the fate of the Ring, and more
concerned with the fate of Frodo. And the way it all worked out in the end,
perhaps they had a point as far as their cousin was concerned, anyway.


>
> Aragorn, if the decision were up to him, would go with Frodo, Sam,
> Gimli, and himself to Mordor, and Legolas only if he insisted. I'm
> really interested to hear what others have to say about his choices
> here. Sam is obvious to go along for the reasons stated -- he won't
> be left behind anyway. Aragorn is the best traveled. Merry and
> Pippin are the obvious choices to be left behind, and Boromir's
> always been forward about being with the Company only until he can
> get home. But, why Gimli over Legolas? Would anyone choose Legolas
> over Gimli? Anyone who would want to take both, or neither of them?

I wondered about that the first time I read it. Over the years, however, I
have come to the conclusion that going to the Black Land would be pretty
poisonous for an Elf. And since someone would have to watch out for Merry
and Pippin if he left them so far from home, Legolas is the logical choice.

>
> Sam bursts into the discussion, summarizing Frodo's dilemma perfectly
> -- going to Minas Tirith is only needless delay, and the only
> decision is to go directly to Mordor, but Frodo is afraid to do it.
> Again, we must applaud the perceptiveness of Sam.

Sam usually knows what Frodo is thinking.


>
> Boromir shows up, practically slinking into camp with a hang-dog
> look. He's quickly questioned, and none too nicely, by Aragorn, to
> discover that Frodo has been missing for something between a half an
> hour to an hour.
>
> Everyone but Aragorn and Boromir immediately panics, and starts
> running and yelling for Frodo. I thought this perfectly in character
> for the Hobbits, but you wouldn't think that Legolas or Gimli would
> be prone to that sort of silliness and thoughtlessness of the
> surroundings and potential danger. Aragorn attempts to put some
> order to the chaos, but it's an entirely futile attempt -- like
> herding butterflies -- so he gives Boromir orders to follow Merry and
> Pippin, and then chases after Sam himself.

I see this panic as something that flowed out of the atmosphere of the
moment. I don't believe even Merry or Pippin would have taken off that way
if everyone were not so overwrought by the previous discussion. Everyone
was kind of wound too tightly, and the spring broke loose.

>
> Aragorn seems to be prone to a bit of silliness himself, however,
> since he catches up with Sam, and then immediately forgets Sam is
> half his size and can't run as fast, leaving Sam panting for breath
> and choking on Aragorn's proverbial dust. So, Sam applies his
> considerable logic skills to the problem, and figures out that Frodo
> has made his decision, and that Frodo needs a boat and gear to get to
> Mordor, so goes running back to the encampment. He's just in the
> nick of time, as Frodo is already in the water and on the way. A
> flying leap into the river results in Sam now needing to be rescued
> by Frodo, since Sam lacks swimming skills. They have a little, "I'm
> going alone." and "Over my dead body you are!" exchange, pick up
> Sam's gear, and head off. They leave the boat, and start off to Emyn
> Muil.

This particular scene always affected me. The first time I read it, I truly
feared Frodo might somehow get away on his own, and Sam would then try to
follow by himself. (Which, come to think of it would have been an
interesting scenario).


>
> My last comments are simply that in my personal opinion, this wasn't
> exactly the perfect place to break the story. I think the next
> chapter also belong in this book, as the Fellowship isn't truly
> broken until Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli also make their final
> decision on which way to go. Not to mention knowing what's going on
> with Merry, Pippin, and Boromir. Putting the Departure chapter here,
> and then starting the second book The Riders and The Uruk-Hai would
> have balanced out much better, IMO. Or even rearranging slightly --
> first following Aragorn up to Amon Hen and through the Departure,
> then backing up to follow Sam. I don't know, I've been reading the
> books for a long time, but this is just one niggling point that
> always nags at me when I read it, leaving me feeling just a splinter
> of dissatisfaction. The next chapter is just in the wrong place,
> darn it! :)

But it makes for a heck of a cliffhanger! And provided me with the
opportunity to memorize my first sentence in LOTR: "Aragorn sped on up the
hill."


>
> OK, comment away!
>
> [1] This immediately (for me) brings to mind the movie scene where
> the one Orc is mincing delicately down the stairs so he doesn't fall.
> It cracks me up every time I see it, even in the midst of the
> seriousness of the scene.
>
> [2] One of the "they got it right" movie places for me. Bits of
> architecture and statues are often lying about in the movies, too.

Oh yes! I was very impressed with the ruins.


>
> [3] As I've said, this scene and the ones following are some of my
> favorite in the movies. And this particular one highlights much of
> the difference between movie-Boromir and book-Boromir and what makes
> movie-Boromir a more sympathetic character. Movie-Boromir is a man
> desperate to save his people, without much other ambition that we see
> -- or if he would "see the glory of Gondor restored", you don't get
> much personal ambition in that wish. Book-Boromir sees himself as a
> mighty king, supplanting his father and Aragorn and ruling the world.

But even with all that, you begin to see where the voice of Boromir leaves
off and the "voice" of the Ring begins.

>
> [4] Having said that, I'm also always a little surprised when I read
> this and find out how close to the book scene the movie scene is.
> Nearly all the lines are straight out of the book, although a few of
> the lines have been displaced. One to the Council of Elrond and one
> to the Caradhras scene.

This impressed me as well. With all the complaints about the changes PJ
made, the dialogue was very frequently straight from the books word for
word.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 4:04:29 AM6/22/04
to
in <2jp7iaF...@uni-berlin.de>,
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> enriched
us with:
>

<snip>

Rowan trees

> I didn't really notice them until having read LOTR either.
> However, my parents got one for the backyard shortly after I
> read it, and I helped plant it and have seen it grow for about
> 25 years now!

I have never really bothered translating the botanical names in LotR
(which is foolish as I have a Danish translation of the book). Looking at
your pictures I realised what the Rowan is, and I feel a bit silly ;-)
(it's relatively common in Denmark)

--
Troels Forchhammer

This isn't right. This isn't even wrong.
- Wolfgang Pauli, on a paper submitted by a physicist colleague

Odysseus

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 4:16:56 AM6/22/04
to
"Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message" wrote:
>
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
> > Also, Tolkien seems to have a soft spot for Rowan trees.
> > They're only briefly mentioned here; it isn't until Merry and Pippin
> > get to Fangorn that they're described with much affection. I don't
> > think we have Rowan trees in the States -- not natively, anyway. I'm
> > not sure what they look like, even with the later description.
>
> They are often called "mountain-ash". There are species in
> both Europe and North America. They have branches that point
> generally upwards, and the branches have long stems with small
> pointed leaves running down both sides and at the end, like an
> ash tree or a walnut tree. They come out in white flowers in
> the spring, and IIRC they have berries on them both in the
> spring and in the fall. They are in the genus Sorbus, in the
> family Rosaceae, making them closely related to roses despite
> not looking like them, hence Quickbeam's comment about "the
> people of the Rose". Some links with good pictures:
>
> http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/trees/handbook/th-3-89.pdf
>
> http://www.2020site.org/trees/rowan.html
>
> http://www.british-trees.com/guide/rowan.htm
>
> http://www.wellesley.edu/Activities/homepage/web/Species/pashmountain.html

In Europe the rowan was long credited with benign magical properties,
in particular protection from evil spirits and hexes.

>
> I didn't really notice them until having read LOTR either.
> However, my parents got one for the backyard shortly after I
> read it, and I helped plant it and have seen it grow for about
> 25 years now!
>

Here in Alberta their berries, lasting well into winter, tend to
attract Bohemian waxwings in large flocks. My parents had one in the
front yard, and the birds were constantly stunning themselves on the
picture windows.

--
Odysseus

Raven

unread,
Jun 22, 2004, 3:11:17 PM6/22/04
to
"Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@io.nanc.com> skrev i en meddelelse
news:MPG.1b40fb2a1...@news.Qwest.net...

> In article <EsudnRYF5tl...@brightview.com>,
> sr...@mose.org.uk says...

> > Michelle J. Haines wrote:

> And also makes the repeated reference of "the lawn of Parth Galen"
> really redundant. :)

Language is like that. In place-names from my country the
element -anger, related to the English word "angle", originally meant
"fjord". So "Hardanger" meant something like "Harud-fjord", after a tribe
that settled there during the Migration Age. Modernly, "anger" does not
mead "fjord" anymore (actually it means "repentance"), and "Hardanger" is
the name of the area in which the "Hardangerfjord" lies:
"Harud-fjord-fjord", if you will. It is not the only example.

Hrafn.


Taemon

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 3:54:24 AM6/23/04
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> I have never really bothered translating the botanical
> names in LotR (which is foolish as I have a Danish
> translation of the book).

I just checked the Dutch translation. It just says "Rowan-bomen",
which is strange, since we have a perfectly good name for them.
We call them "lijsterbes" ("thrush-berry").

T.


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 4:28:30 PM6/23/04
to
In message <news:2jsr9oF...@uni-berlin.de> "Taemon"
<Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:

"Røn" in Danish - and the berries accordingly are "rønnebær". I checked
my dictionary; it is from Old Norse "reynir" and connected to 'red'.
This, according to my Webster, is also the origin for 'rowan'.

The berries are part of a Danish adage where the fox complains that
they are sour because he couldn't reach them - my dictionary gives
"sour grapes" as the translation of the adage.

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

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

Taemon

unread,
Jun 23, 2004, 5:07:48 PM6/23/04
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> In message <news:2jsr9oF...@uni-berlin.de> "Taemon"
> <Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:
> > I just checked the Dutch translation. It just says
> > "Rowan-bomen", which is strange, since we have a
> > perfectly good name for them. We call them "lijsterbes"
> > ("thrush-berry").
> "Røn" in Danish - and the berries accordingly are
> "rønnebær".

"Lijsterbessen" :-)

> The berries are part of a Danish adage where the fox
> complains that they are sour because he couldn't reach
> them - my dictionary gives "sour grapes" as the
> translation of the adage.

Really! In the Netherlands, that story is with grapes. Maybe a
lijsterbes would be better, since a fox can easily reach grapes.
Then again, I can picture a fox eating grapes, but not
lijsterbessen.

T.


Jim Deutch

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 4:39:34 PM6/24/04
to

Aragorn certainly expected to perceive something of value up there,
though he was disappointed in that hope. I've always thought that
there was "magic" involved with these two peaks, and that it would be
accessible to anyone (not just a King of Gondor), but I don't have any
textual evidence for that.

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
- Elvis Costello

aelfwina

unread,
Jun 24, 2004, 10:00:45 PM6/24/04
to

"Jim Deutch" <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote in message
news:40db3bf3....@news.compuserve.com...

That's also an impression that I was left with. But again we are left with
Tolkien's vagueness about what is "magic" and what is not.

Is there some reason hardly anyone seems interested in what, to me, at least
is a pivotal chapter?
Barbara

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 1:03:43 AM6/25/04
to
In article <10dn84b...@corp.supernews.com>,
aelf...@cableone.net says...

>
> Is there some reason hardly anyone seems interested in what, to me, at least
> is a pivotal chapter?

Well, either my chapter summary is really bad this time around, or
people are too busy with the continuing bitch-fest to comment about
it, or are too busy commenting in the six other COTW threads. :)

aelfwina

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 8:45:45 AM6/25/04
to

"Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b456019f...@news.Qwest.net...

> In article <10dn84b...@corp.supernews.com>,
> aelf...@cableone.net says...
> >
> > Is there some reason hardly anyone seems interested in what, to me, at
least
> > is a pivotal chapter?
>
> Well, either my chapter summary is really bad this time around, or
> people are too busy with the continuing bitch-fest to comment about
> it, or are too busy commenting in the six other COTW threads. :)

Well, it's not your chapter summary, which I quite liked (it was nice not to
have to do a lot of snipping and upping and downing) As to the "bitch-fest"
I am currently ignoring all threads *except* for COTW, so tthat just gives
me six threads to read; quite manageable, actually. And I only comment if I
think I have something to say.
It just surprised me that so few are saying anything on this chapter.
Barbara

AC

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 2:04:05 PM6/25/04
to
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 14:37:46 -0600,
Michelle J Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

Sorry about the delay. I kept planning to respond, and hadn't expired your
message, but between flamewars and being fairly busy on other matters, I was
distracted.

<snip>

>
> He reaches the top of Amon Hen, also named the Seat of Seeing, and
> The Hill of the Eye of the Men of Numenor. Each way he looks, he can
> see long distances, although he can't hear anything. Presumably,
> Amon Lhaw (probably also called the Seat of Hearing and The Hill of
> the Ear of the Men of Numenor) works the same way, but with an
> expanded auditory sense, rather than visual. So, what is the purpose
> of these two hills? They seem quite far away from Gondor or Arnor to
> have been used with any regularity. They don't appear to be useful
> for any form of two-way communication. They also seem to be too far
> away from each other to be particularly useful. If you see something
> from Amon Hen that you need to investigate further, it would take
> some time to get down and over to Amon Lhaw to then listen to what's
> going on. Likewise, if you're on Amon Lhaw and hear something
> noteworthy, it would be inconvenient to get across the river to Amon
> Hen to then visually pinpoint it. They seem to be some sort of
> Palantir on the top of a hill, but not able to move, and less
> flexible about what they can transmit. How were they made? Is this
> more "magic that isn't magic?"

I've often wondered about the two hills myself. It rather plays into my
feeling that magic, as we commonly know it, really doesn't exist in Middle
Earth. We know from the story of the Druedain in UT that even Men, or at
least some, were capable of giving inanimate objects some measure of their
powers, so possibly ancient Numenorean artisans were able to imbue the seats
with some abilities akin, in some respects, to the Palantir. Another
possibility, thougn not one I would be willing to subscribe to, is that the
hills may have been enchanted by others, perhaps Elves or even the Valar.

I can envision the ancient kings of Gondor visiting Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw,
in times of trouble or perhaps in seclusion. When Gondor was first formed,
Sauron had not returned Mordor to wage war upon Elendil and Gil-galadm, so
while a journey for any ruler (king or steward) of Gondor in later days may
have been fraught with danger, when the hills were first constructed that
may not have been a worry at all.

>
> Anyway, we get an interesting description of what's going on from
> Frodo's point of view. First we get a basic description of the
> landscape in each direction, then a more bleak view of the signs of
> war. Orcs in the Misty Mountains, fighting in Mirkwood, fire among
> the Beornings, clouds over Moria, and smoke on the borders of Lorien.
> Horseman galloping across Rohan, wolves from Isenguard, Haradian
> ships of war, huge masses of armies from the East. In Frodo's place,
> it would be hard to avoid despair. He looks South, first towards
> Minas Tirith, then his eye is drawn towards Minas Morgul and then to
> Barad-dur, where WHOOPS! Sauron catches his supernatural spying.
>
> Here's another scene that always gives me the shivers -- Sauron's
> will leaps out like a long arm, and wow does it find him fast!
> Before he can barely take a breath, it's touched Amon Lhaw and then
> Tol Brandir, and Frodo can't tell if he's denying Sauron or
> capitulating to him! Gandalf intervenes, in a fashion that's very
> Gandalf, trying to assist.

It may be typical Gandalf, but it also, in my mind, represents the increased
powers of Gandalf the White.

>
> This next paragraph I always found fascinating:
> "The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced
> between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he
> was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye:
> free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so."
>
> So, Gandalf's help torments Frodo nearly as much as Sauron's
> malevolence. And who intervenes to wipe out both influences and
> allow him to make his own choice? Is this another example of Divine
> Influence helping Frodo? I like to think so.
>
> Then we have:
> "A black shadow seemed to pass like an arm above him; it missed Amon
> Hen and groped out west, and faded."
>
> YIKES! Talked about being brushed by the hand of death!

A close thing indeed. As I said above, this, to my mind, shows that Gandalf
the White is someone far greater than old Gandalf Stormcrow!

As to who intervened, I never got any sense of an intervention. I think
Frodo, who had become an individual of some will himself, simply took charge
of a terrible situation, caught between two beings of incredible
supernatural powers, and made up his own mind.

<snip>

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

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 2:27:15 PM6/25/04
to
In article <slrncdoq8l.3k4....@alder.alberni.net>,
mightym...@hotmail.com says...

> On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 14:37:46 -0600,
> Michelle J Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
>
> > This next paragraph I always found fascinating:
> > "The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced
> > between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he
> > was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye:
> > free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so."
>
> As to who intervened, I never got any sense of an intervention. I think
> Frodo, who had become an individual of some will himself, simply took charge
> of a terrible situation, caught between two beings of incredible
> supernatural powers, and made up his own mind.

Interesting. I always get a sense of intervention there, because I
suppose, to me, it would seem odd to go from (mentally) writhing in
torment to suddenly free of said torment, without some sort of
intervention.

If nothing else, these threads are fascinating for showing how each
of us looks individually at these books.

Henriette

unread,
Jun 25, 2004, 3:42:23 PM6/25/04
to
"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:<2jsr9oF...@uni-berlin.de>...

> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>
> > I have never really bothered translating the botanical
> > names in LotR (which is foolish as I have a Danish
> > translation of the book).
>
I fear my knowledge of botanical names in English is really limited.

> I just checked the Dutch translation. It just says "Rowan-bomen",
> which is strange, since we have a perfectly good name for them.
> We call them "lijsterbes" ("thrush-berry").
>

Thank you for looking it up, because my dictionary doesn't mention
them. The lijsterbes= rowan trees? Amazing. Rowan-bomen? Some *lazy*
translator!

Henriette

Taemon

unread,
Jun 26, 2004, 8:07:13 AM6/26/04
to
Henriette wrote:

> Thank you for looking it up, because my dictionary
> doesn't mention them.

I followed the links provided here and saw the pictures. My
Dutch-English dictionary did give a translation for lijsterbes,
though.

> The lijsterbes= rowan trees? Amazing. Rowan-bomen?
> Some *lazy* translator!

Max Schuchart is brilliant, really, a genius. He did the dreaded
Thomas Covenant-series and I could cry over the translation
alone. So I don't understand. Maybe lijsterbessen weren't around
that much at the time? Doesn't sound very likely. I searched for
"Rowanboom" but that doesn't seem to exist either.

T.


Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jun 26, 2004, 6:21:19 PM6/26/04
to
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 14:37:46 -0600, Michelle J. Haines
<mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

>As usual, my comments on the book are interspersed. Footnotes are
>almost always movie comments, for those who don't care to read them.
>:)

Thank you very much!

>Boromir's arguments first go from wanting to see the Ring, then
>rejects the argument that it could only be used for good. He quickly
>goes on to point out what good Aragorn could do with the Ring, then
>further points out what HE could do with it. He goes on raving about
>the power of Command, driving the hosts of Mordor before him, men
>flocking to his banners, walls, weapons, alliances, becoming a great
>king himself. I can just see him stomping around, waving his arms
>and ranting while oblivious to his surroundings. I think if I were
>Frodo, I would have high-tailed it out of there pretty quickly. I
>find his whole demeanor frightening.[3][4]
>
>Frodo very diplomatically says that Boromir has made his choice very
>clear to him -- which includes getting away from Boromir as fast as
>possible, :) Boromir now presses many reasons on Frodo to come to
>Boromir's city -- come for a little while, you need rest, you need
>intelligence information, you can just TRY my plan, lend me the Ring
>for a little while, this whole plan is stupid to begin with, it never
>belonged to you in the first place, it COULD have been mind, it
>SHOULD be mine, now HAND IT OVER!!! This whole cascade into sudden
>violence always gives me a shiver.

Yes, this was really well done, and shows the power of the Ring and
the temptations it offers -- it's no wonder that later on Denethor
couldn't imagine that Boromir wouldn't bring him the Ring: he never
saw this transformation. But Faramir, after his temptation by the
Ring, could understand how it could happen and grieve for his brother,
not strong enough to resist.

>He reaches the top of Amon Hen, also named the Seat of Seeing, and
>The Hill of the Eye of the Men of Numenor. Each way he looks, he can
>see long distances, although he can't hear anything. Presumably,
>Amon Lhaw (probably also called the Seat of Hearing and The Hill of
>the Ear of the Men of Numenor) works the same way, but with an
>expanded auditory sense, rather than visual. So, what is the purpose
>of these two hills? They seem quite far away from Gondor or Arnor to
>have been used with any regularity. They don't appear to be useful
>for any form of two-way communication. They also seem to be too far
>away from each other to be particularly useful. If you see something
>from Amon Hen that you need to investigate further, it would take
>some time to get down and over to Amon Lhaw to then listen to what's
>going on. Likewise, if you're on Amon Lhaw and hear something
>noteworthy, it would be inconvenient to get across the river to Amon
>Hen to then visually pinpoint it. They seem to be some sort of
>Palantir on the top of a hill, but not able to move, and less
>flexible about what they can transmit. How were they made? Is this
>more "magic that isn't magic?"

After reading in the Valaquenta

When Manwe there [in his halls on Taniquetil] ascends his
throne and looks forth, if Varda is beside him, he sees
further than all other eyes, through mist, and through
darkness, and over the leagues of the sea. And if Manwe is
with her, Varda hears more clearly than all other ears the
sound of voices that cry from east to west, from the hills and
the valleys, and from the dark places that Melkor has made
upon Earth.

I've wondered if this had anything to do with the augmentation of the
sense of hearing and sight on either hill, and the reduction in the
other senses, which are experienced by mortals, or at least by
Numenoreans on the Eye and Ear of the Men of Numenor. Is anything
said about it in Letters or HoME?

I've always thought it was the Ring that enabled Sauron to become
aware of Frodo's long-distance sighting of Mordor. Certainly the Ring
played a big part ("Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the
Ring!"). But now on thinking about it, Frodo thought about Mordor and
Sauron on many occasions (though none when he had the Ring on;
however, he didn't need to put it on to see Sauron in Galadriel's
Mirror); perhaps the "magical" qualities of Amon Hen enhanced his
thought and translated it into vision, so that he could actually gaze
on all these places no one would ordinarily be able to see clearly (as
Aragorn could not), and be sensed and immediately pursued by Sauron.

But that's assuming that the vision was not Ring inspired. Since a
direct descendant of Isildur would immediately follow Frodo to this
seat and see nothing useful, perhaps the Ring *is* responsible for the
vision, and thus perhaps is tempting Frodo here. What a beautiful
sight he sees at first, with those "wide unchartered lands, nameless
plains, and forests unexplored" to the East; the "glimmering rainbow
played upon the fume" at his feet and mighty Ethir Anduin and the Sea,
and all the lands around him. It reminds me a little bit of the
temptation of Christ by the Devil out in the wilderness, though of
course JRRT has written it totally differently and without any
noticeable parallel between the two. I don't think any comparison was
intended, but the general "feel" is similar.

And Frodo doesn't respond at all. That's amazing, when you think
about it: most people, given such a view, would want to make at least
part of it their own, and that's where the Ring would grab them;
they'd start hallucinating as did Boromir, or as Sam does briefly just
before he steps into Mordor. But Frodo just sits there passively, not
interacting with the Ring at all.

Maybe this "inert" quality in him was what got him "chosen" to be the
Ring-bearer?

Anyway, the Ring's first temptation with beauty and "lands at your
feet to explore and control" hasn't worked (as it would have worked
with Boromir, and perhaps with Galadriel), so now it gets nastier and
supplies a vision of war everywhere (giving the reader a little idea
of what Denethor faced every time he looked into the Palantir), and
here it finally stirs up an emotion in Frodo: hope when he sees Minas
Tirith. He's caught then, and the Ring reels him in and betrays him
to Sauron (emphasis added):

But against Minas Tirith was set another fortress, greater and
more strong. Thither, eastward, *unwilling* his eye was
drawn...Then at last his gaze was held...All hope left him.
And suddenly he felt the Eye.

"Unwilling." He was being manipulated at this point, and I think it
was the Ring's doing.

>Here's another scene that always gives me the shivers -- Sauron's
>will leaps out like a long arm, and wow does it find him fast!

What precisely could Sauron, who was roughly 300 miles away and whose
Nazgul "on the ground" in the area of the Great River had just had his
mount shot out from under him, have done if he had found Frodo here?

>Aragorn, if the decision were up to him, would go with Frodo, Sam,
>Gimli, and himself to Mordor, and Legolas only if he insisted. I'm
>really interested to hear what others have to say about his choices
>here. Sam is obvious to go along for the reasons stated -- he won't
>be left behind anyway. Aragorn is the best traveled. Merry and
>Pippin are the obvious choices to be left behind, and Boromir's
>always been forward about being with the Company only until he can
>get home. But, why Gimli over Legolas? Would anyone choose Legolas
>over Gimli? Anyone who would want to take both, or neither of them?

Some of the people of Gondor (notably Prince Imrahil) had sylvan elven
blood in them (from the people of Amroth), and perhaps Aragorn was
reasoning that Legolas would thus be most helpful there. Just a
guess.

Barb

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jun 26, 2004, 6:24:05 PM6/26/04
to
On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 21:00:45 -0500, "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net>
wrote:

>Is there some reason hardly anyone seems interested in what, to me, at least
>is a pivotal chapter?

We're getting into the more complex parts now, and people are perhaps
approaching them slowly and with more thought. I had wondered how the
later chapters, some of which have a huge amount of stuff in them -
much more than could be handled in a week, even full-time - would go.

The discussions tend to pick up a bit over time, and perhaps this
chapter in particular is starting slowly precisely because it is so
pivotal. Everybody's got to think about it more.

Barb

Öjevind Lång

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Jun 26, 2004, 7:14:23 PM6/26/04
to
"Belba Grubb from Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> skrev i meddelandet
news:mntrd0tmed591h4pj...@4ax.com...

[snip]

> The discussions tend to pick up a bit over time, and perhaps this
> chapter in particular is starting slowly precisely because it is so
> pivotal. Everybody's got to think about it more.

I think one thing most people can agree about is that this is a wonderful
chapter - Tolkien at his best.

Öjevind


aelfwina

unread,
Jun 26, 2004, 11:19:21 PM6/26/04
to

"Belba Grubb from Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message
news:f4rrd0pcsab1c3h6c...@4ax.com...

I think the atmosphere of Mordor would have been extremely difficulf for an
Elf.
Dwarves being less sensitive to that kind of thing would have made Gimli
more logical. The fact that he *would* take Legolas if he insisted seems
to me to indicate that his exclusion in the first place was for his own
sake.
Barbara


> guess.
>
> Barb


Emma Pease

unread,
Jun 27, 2004, 1:30:06 AM6/27/04
to
In article <MPG.1b40f502b...@news.Qwest.net>, Michelle J
Haines wrote:
[snip]

I want to discuss Boromir a bit.

I think when Boromir goes to find Frodo he is not lying when he says
he wants to talk to help clear his own mind though the ring has almost
certainly tempted Boromir with what, as the talk continues, Boromir
finally falls for and states.

[snip]


>
> We go back in time a little to see the events from the perspective of
> the Company. They chat for a while, discussing Frodo's choices and
> their own. The general consensus seems to be they'd like to go to
> Minas Tirith, but will follow Frodo to Mordor if he chooses that way.
> Merry and Pippin seem to think Frodo should be prevented from going
> there altogether -- um, OK. This always makes me wonder if they've
> been wandering about with their fingers in their ears up until now.
> The whole POINT is to go to Mordor, gentlemen!

Aside, but whether to go to Minas Tirith first and attempt Mordor from
there is a possibility to be considered.

Note that the company also question Aragorn but not Boromir about
Minas Tirith. I think this shows the depths into which Boromir has
been isolated within the company. In fact the rest of the company
doesn't even notice that Boromir is missing until at least an hour
after he is gone though they are talking about his city (Boromir
states he has been wandering after last seeing Frodo for at least a
half hour and possibly and hour and my guess is that it took time for
Boromir to find Frodo and his discussion with Frodo must have taken a
fair bit of time [say 15 to 30 minutes]).

[snip]

> Boromir shows up, practically slinking into camp with a hang-dog
> look. He's quickly questioned, and none too nicely, by Aragorn, to
> discover that Frodo has been missing for something between a half an
> hour to an hour.

It probably took Boromir time and courage to come back to the camp
especially since he must have half expected Frodo to have come back
and denounce him to the others. He then realizes that Frodo has
really run off but does not yet have the courage to fully confess what
he has done.

> Everyone but Aragorn and Boromir immediately panics, and starts
> running and yelling for Frodo. I thought this perfectly in character
> for the Hobbits, but you wouldn't think that Legolas or Gimli would
> be prone to that sort of silliness and thoughtlessness of the
> surroundings and potential danger. Aragorn attempts to put some
> order to the chaos, but it's an entirely futile attempt -- like
> herding butterflies -- so he gives Boromir orders to follow Merry and
> Pippin, and then chases after Sam himself.

> [3] As I've said, this scene and the ones following are some of my
> favorite in the movies. And this particular one highlights much of
> the difference between movie-Boromir and book-Boromir and what makes
> movie-Boromir a more sympathetic character. Movie-Boromir is a man
> desperate to save his people, without much other ambition that we see
> -- or if he would "see the glory of Gondor restored", you don't get
> much personal ambition in that wish. Book-Boromir sees himself as a
> mighty king, supplanting his father and Aragorn and ruling the world.

But only supplanting Aragorn because Aragorn is, in his ring tempted
eyes, failing to do what is necessary. Note that the book-Boromir
does not overlook Aragorn's claim.

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

Odysseus

unread,
Jun 27, 2004, 3:43:23 PM6/27/04
to
Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:
>
[snip]

>
> (emphasis added):
>
> But against Minas Tirith was set another fortress, greater and
> more strong. Thither, eastward, *unwilling* his eye was
> drawn...Then at last his gaze was held...All hope left him.
> And suddenly he felt the Eye.
>
> "Unwilling." He was being manipulated at this point, and I think it
> was the Ring's doing.
>
I agree.

> >Here's another scene that always gives me the shivers -- Sauron's
> >will leaps out like a long arm, and wow does it find him fast!
>
> What precisely could Sauron, who was roughly 300 miles away and whose
> Nazgul "on the ground" in the area of the Great River had just had his
> mount shot out from under him, have done if he had found Frodo here?
>

I think the greatest threat at this point is of "the Eye"
establishing a bidirectional link with Frodo's mind, as later was
attempted with Pippin's through the palantír of Orthanc. It has been
stressed that the outcome of the quest hinges on Sauron's remaining
blind to the possibility that his enemies would try to destroy the
Ring. Knowing that Frodo's destination is Orodruin he could
concentrate on securing both his borders and the approaches to the
mountain itself, and wouldn't be provoked into premature action
against Gondor or otherwise distracted by events in the west. With
Mordor closely guarded, and Gorgoroth teeming with Orcs _et al._,
getting the Ring to the Cracks of Doom would become virtually impossible.

--
Odysseus

Jette Goldie

unread,
Jun 27, 2004, 5:54:33 PM6/27/04
to

"Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message" <m...@privacy.net> wrote in
message news:2jp7iaF...@uni-berlin.de...

> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
> > Also, Tolkien seems to have a soft spot for Rowan trees.
> > They're only briefly mentioned here; it isn't until Merry and Pippin
> > get to Fangorn that they're described with much affection. I don't
> > think we have Rowan trees in the States -- not natively, anyway. I'm
> > not sure what they look like, even with the later description.
>
> They are often called "mountain-ash". There are species in
> both Europe and North America. They have branches that point
> generally upwards, and the branches have long stems with small
> pointed leaves running down both sides and at the end, like an
> ash tree or a walnut tree. They come out in white flowers in
> the spring, and IIRC they have berries on them both in the
> spring and in the fall. They are in the genus Sorbus, in the
> family Rosaceae, making them closely related to roses despite
> not looking like them, hence Quickbeam's comment about "the
> people of the Rose". Some links with good pictures:


"Blossoms like Snow" - that's the Rowan in the spring
In the autumn the flame red berries bow the tree branches
down - sometimes until they almost reach the ground.
(no berries in spring)

It used to be traditional to plant a Rowan in the garden
of any Scottish home - the tree was reputed to be protection
against any evil magic, or witchcraft.

You will see Rowan trees everywhere here. I can see two
from my window right now - and the houses here don't even
have gardens!

BTW, Rowan berries are not normally edible to humans,
but do make an interesting dry blush wine, and a terrific
jelly to serve with game meat.

Oddly enough, the Elder tree, which is not considered so
kindly in folklore, has more uses in terms of food for man
- Elderberry wine, Elderberry jam, Elderflower wine,
Elderflower pressé (non alcoholic cordial)...... yet the
tree has an evil reputation!


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


Henriette

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Jun 28, 2004, 4:08:10 AM6/28/04
to
"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message news:<2k577jF...@uni-berlin.de>...


> I followed the links provided here and saw the pictures. My
> Dutch-English dictionary did give a translation for lijsterbes,
> though.
>
So does my Dutch-English dictionary (I hadn't tried that one) but it
says: 'Service-berry'....

> Maybe lijsterbessen weren't around
> that much at the time? Doesn't sound very likely. I searched for
> "Rowanboom" but that doesn't seem to exist either.
>

I think lijsterbessen are around less *nowadays*, because of their
somewhat bourgeois connotation.

H.

Taemon

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Jun 28, 2004, 12:52:53 PM6/28/04
to
Henriette wrote:

> Taemon:


> > I followed the links provided here and saw the
> > pictures. My Dutch-English dictionary did give a
> > translation for lijsterbes, though.
> So does my Dutch-English dictionary (I hadn't tried that
> one) but it says: 'Service-berry'....

"Service-berry"!? Har har :-) Mine said "Rowan tree or mountain
ash".

> I think lijsterbessen are around less *nowadays*, because
> of their somewhat bourgeois connotation.

And on account of our having left little space for trees. I
agree.

T.


Jim Deutch

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Jun 28, 2004, 4:01:54 PM6/28/04
to

>On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 14:37:46 -0600,
>Michelle J Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
>I've often wondered about the two hills myself. It rather plays into my
>feeling that magic, as we commonly know it, really doesn't exist in Middle
>Earth. We know from the story of the Druedain in UT that even Men, or at
>least some, were capable of giving inanimate objects some measure of their
>powers, so possibly ancient Numenorean artisans were able to imbue the seats
>with some abilities akin, in some respects, to the Palantir. Another
>possibility, thougn not one I would be willing to subscribe to, is that the
>hills may have been enchanted by others, perhaps Elves or even the Valar.

That rings true to me: I think I'd always felt that there was some
inherent -- or at least ancient -- property of the Hills themselves at
play here, and that the "seats" were placed there by the early
Gondorians simply to take advantage of the pre-existing properties of
sight and hearing that they found there.

The fact that Aragorn saw nothing of value from Amon Hen has always
seemed to me a side-effect of the disturbance by great Powers that has
just taken place there. Between Sauron, Gandalf, and the Ring, the
"magic" of that place has been disrupted for a time.

No textual support for that position, however.

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--

I’m proud of my humility.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 6:24:33 PM6/28/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:
> In article <10dn84b...@corp.supernews.com>,
> aelf...@cableone.net says...
>>
>> Is there some reason hardly anyone seems interested in what, to me,
>> at least is a pivotal chapter?
>
> Well, either my chapter summary is really bad this time around

No. It was very good.

> or people are too busy with the continuing bitch-fest

Guilty as charged!

> to comment about
> it, or are too busy commenting in the six other COTW threads. :)

And being distracted by other threads and real world stuff.

I currently have a backlog of CotW, meaning to comment fully on chapters
7, 8, 9 and 10, but have only been able to contribute little
observations here and there.

But for this chapter thread at least, I think we should all congratulate
ourselves for finishing 'The Fellowship of the Ring'!! It 'only' took
just under six months!

BTW, I see that no-one has volunteered for 'The Riders of Rohan' chapter
on the schedule page: http://parasha.maoltuile.org/

And that it hasn't been updated recently...
And we still have a King of the Golden Hill...

:-)

Christopher

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

"None saw her last meeting with Elrond her father, for they went up
into the hills and there spoke long together, and bitter was their
parting that should endure beyond the ends of the world." - Arwen's
farewell (Many Partings - RotK)

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 6:39:55 PM6/28/04
to
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
> "Michelle J. Haines" <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

<snip>

>> Here's another scene that always gives me the shivers -- Sauron's
>> will leaps out like a long arm, and wow does it find him fast!

>> Before he can barely take a breath, it's touched Amon Lhaw and then
>> Tol Brandir, and Frodo can't tell if he's denying Sauron or
>> capitulating to him! Gandalf intervenes, in a fashion that's very
>> Gandalf, trying to assist.
>

> And of course, JRRT does not *say* outright that it is Gandalf in the
> story, and in fact, Frodo does not realize this at all. I must say
> that it is pretty subtle, and in my first reading years ago, I
> thought I was pretty clever when I began to suspect at this point
> that Gandalf was not dead. However, "take it off, you fool!" was
> pretty much a giveaway, LOL!

:-) Indeed. I wanted to do a quick survey here and see if people
remember (about reading for the first time) if they realised at this
point that this voice was Gandalf. I can't remember for sure, but I
don't think I twigged until Gandalf tells us in the 'The White Rider'
chapter.

<snip>

>> This next paragraph I always found fascinating:
>> "The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced
>> between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he
>> was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye:
>> free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so."
>>

>> So, Gandalf's help torments Frodo nearly as much as Sauron's
>> malevolence. And who intervenes to wipe out both influences and
>> allow him to make his own choice? Is this another example of Divine
>> Influence helping Frodo? I like to think so.

I always thought that the Two Powers (after a dramatic bit of writhing
by Frodo)cancelled each other out, thus leaving Frodo free to be himself
once more.

>> Then we have:
>> "A black shadow seemed to pass like an arm above him; it missed Amon
>> Hen and groped out west, and faded."
>>
>> YIKES! Talked about being brushed by the hand of death!

Great moment.

<snip>

>> We go back in time a little to see the events from the perspective of
>> the Company. They chat for a while, discussing Frodo's choices and
>> their own. The general consensus seems to be they'd like to go to
>> Minas Tirith, but will follow Frodo to Mordor if he chooses that way.
>> Merry and Pippin seem to think Frodo should be prevented from going
>> there altogether -- um, OK. This always makes me wonder if they've
>> been wandering about with their fingers in their ears up until now.
>> The whole POINT is to go to Mordor, gentlemen!
>

> No, I think that they know perfectly well. But at this point the two
> of them are scared spitless, not only for themselves, but for their
> beloved Frodo as well. They are understandably wishing to avoid the
> deadly choice, and maybe hoping that by putting it off, some miracle
> will intervene. A bit of sticking their heads in the sand, really,
> but knowing they did. After all, the two of them are less concerned
> with the fate of the Ring, and more concerned with the fate of Frodo.
> And the way it all worked out in the end, perhaps they had a point as
> far as their cousin was concerned, anyway.

Good points. They were quite right to try and 'save' Frodo, but I guess
Frodo would have carried on anyway. They've also left it a bit late...

<snip>

>> Everyone but Aragorn and Boromir immediately panics, and starts
>> running and yelling for Frodo.

<snip>

> I see this panic as something that flowed out of the atmosphere of the
> moment. I don't believe even Merry or Pippin would have taken off
> that way if everyone were not so overwrought by the previous
> discussion. Everyone was kind of wound too tightly, and the spring
> broke loose.

Exactly. Aragorn also makes some comment about everything going ill that
day, maybe (my suggestion) as if there was some kind of malevolent will
bent their way. The whole tension of the situation is probably enough
though.

<snip>

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 6:51:15 PM6/28/04
to
Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote:

[about Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw]

> I think they were simply sighting posts to keep a lookout for invading
> barbarians in the days of Gondor's greatness.

I've just been reading about the days of Gondor's greatness in UT! The
idea of watchtowers might work. Gondor had fortresses by the River
(watching the lands to the east) as far north as the Undeeps near the
Brown Lands. That area (north of Raurus) was of more concern to them as
far as invasion from the East was concerned. I think that invaders
through Ithilien (from north or south) had to head to Osgiliath to cross
Anduin. The Nindalf and Emyn Muil pretty much guarded their parts of the
river. But if some vision like Frodo's could be accessed, then these
Hills would be really useful to plan wars against invading forces!

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 6:56:58 PM6/28/04
to
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:

[about Legolas going to Mordor]

> I think the atmosphere of Mordor would have been extremely difficulf
> for an Elf.
> Dwarves being less sensitive to that kind of thing would have made
> Gimli more logical. The fact that he *would* take Legolas if he
> insisted seems to me to indicate that his exclusion in the first
> place was for his own sake.

This is seen in other stories. I know that Dori of the Fair Folk in the
Prydain series (Lloyd Alexander - Welsh mythlogy) is similarly affected
by approaching the Land of Evil (TM) in that story.

I'm not so sure this would apply in Tolkien's world. Elves in the Last
Alliance wars entered Mordor and laid siege to Barad-dur for seven
years. Nice idea though.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 6:59:51 PM6/28/04
to
Odysseus <odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> wrote:
> Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:

<snip>

>> What precisely could Sauron, who was roughly 300 miles away and whose


>> Nazgul "on the ground" in the area of the Great River had just had
>> his mount shot out from under him, have done if he had found Frodo
>> here?
>>
> I think the greatest threat at this point is of "the Eye"
> establishing a bidirectional link with Frodo's mind, as later was
> attempted with Pippin's through the palantír of Orthanc.

Maybe Sauron could even take over Frodo's mind at a distance and command
him to go somewhere and wait for the Nazgul? I think the real threat is
Sauron finding out where the Ring is. He still doesn't know for sure,
and if he found out there would be many of his minions descending on the
area and/or surrounding it.

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 7:06:28 PM6/28/04
to
On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 22:24:33 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>BTW, I see that no-one has volunteered for 'The Riders of Rohan' chapter
>on the schedule page: http://parasha.maoltuile.org/

I did! Am still waiting to hear back on it.

Barb

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 7:06:46 PM6/28/04
to
Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 14:37:46 -0600, Michelle J. Haines
> <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote:

[about Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw]

> After reading in the Valaquenta


>
> When Manwe there [in his halls on Taniquetil] ascends his
> throne and looks forth, if Varda is beside him, he sees
> further than all other eyes, through mist, and through
> darkness, and over the leagues of the sea. And if Manwe is
> with her, Varda hears more clearly than all other ears the
> sound of voices that cry from east to west, from the hills and
> the valleys, and from the dark places that Melkor has made
> upon Earth.
>
> I've wondered if this had anything to do with the augmentation of the
> sense of hearing and sight on either hill, and the reduction in the
> other senses, which are experienced by mortals, or at least by
> Numenoreans on the Eye and Ear of the Men of Numenor. Is anything
> said about it in Letters or HoME?

Interesting. I don't know. Other examples of far-seeing include the
Meneltarma and (with the master Palantir) the tower of Emyn Beraid. I
wonder what would happen if you took a palantir up onto these Hills...

> I've always thought it was the Ring that enabled Sauron to become
> aware of Frodo's long-distance sighting of Mordor.

<snip>

> But that's assuming that the vision was not Ring inspired. Since a
> direct descendant of Isildur would immediately follow Frodo to this
> seat and see nothing useful, perhaps the Ring *is* responsible for the
> vision, and thus perhaps is tempting Frodo here. What a beautiful
> sight he sees at first, with those "wide unchartered lands, nameless
> plains, and forests unexplored" to the East; the "glimmering rainbow
> played upon the fume" at his feet and mighty Ethir Anduin and the Sea,
> and all the lands around him.

<snip>

I think the Ring is distracting Frodo while Sauron traces the 'tap' he
has on the Ring. A bit like in those police movies where the kidnapper
hangs up the phone just before they discover where he is. Frodo 'hangs
up' just in time by taking off the Ring.

<snip>

> But against Minas Tirith was set another fortress, greater and


> more strong. Thither, eastward, *unwilling* his eye was
> drawn...Then at last his gaze was held...All hope left him.
> And suddenly he felt the Eye.
>
> "Unwilling." He was being manipulated at this point, and I think it
> was the Ring's doing.

Sound like it, doesn't it!

<snip>

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 7:11:58 PM6/28/04
to
On Sun, 27 Jun 2004 19:43:23 GMT, Odysseus
<odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> wrote:

>> What precisely could Sauron, who was roughly 300 miles away and whose
>> Nazgul "on the ground" in the area of the Great River had just had his
>> mount shot out from under him, have done if he had found Frodo here?
>>
>I think the greatest threat at this point is of "the Eye"
>establishing a bidirectional link with Frodo's mind, as later was
>attempted with Pippin's through the palantír of Orthanc. It has been
>stressed that the outcome of the quest hinges on Sauron's remaining
>blind to the possibility that his enemies would try to destroy the
>Ring. Knowing that Frodo's destination is Orodruin he could
>concentrate on securing both his borders and the approaches to the
>mountain itself, and wouldn't be provoked into premature action
>against Gondor or otherwise distracted by events in the west. With
>Mordor closely guarded, and Gorgoroth teeming with Orcs _et al._,
>getting the Ring to the Cracks of Doom would become virtually impossible.

Yes, that makes sense. Frodo couldn't have resisted him and he would
indeed have learned of the plan to destroy the Ring. That would have
been the end, either by Sauron's sealing Mordor up tight so that the
Ring eventually found its way to Minas Tirith and destroyed it or
until the Ringbearer was allowed just far enough into Mordor to be
trapped and caught and the Ring regained by Sauron. I've never
thought about that before: it was so easy for that plan to fail -- no
wonder Denethor called it folly.

Barb

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 7:14:27 PM6/28/04
to

I think you're right, and have a much clearer vision of Boromir than I
had. Until it was pointed out just now I hadn't realized how
distanced from the rest of the Company Boromir was; ? whether that is
inattentive reading or a slight problem in the writing of his
character (probably the former).

Barb

the softrat

unread,
Jun 28, 2004, 9:14:24 PM6/28/04
to
On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 22:56:58 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>This is seen in other stories. I know that Dori of the Fair Folk in the
>Prydain series (Lloyd Alexander - Welsh mythlogy) is similarly affected
>by approaching the Land of Evil (TM) in that story.

*Very* pseudo-Welsh! More like 'American Children Story with distant
Welsh antecedents'. I find the americanisms in the text very
out-of-place, and I *am* an American.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
A man without a woman is like a bicycle without a fish.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jun 29, 2004, 10:32:41 AM6/29/04
to
in <BU0Ec.5482$RO4.59...@news-text.cableinet.net>,
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

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

<snip>

>> Well, either my chapter summary is really bad this time around
>
> No. It was very good.

I agree. And it is still lying on my desk for a thorough reading and
commenting.

This is, IMO, one of the pivotal chapters in LotR, and the introduction
was excellent, but unfortunately this also means that I will have to do
so much more work before being satisfied with my own comments ;-)

>> or people are too busy with the continuing bitch-fest
>
> Guilty as charged!

The summer holidays are approaching at an alarming pace, and work needs
to be finalised before putting the keyboard to rest for a couple of weeks
(during which I will be completely unable to read usenet).

Unfortunately those activities take time away from what little spare time
I have to post, and my backlog is growing as well, both here and in other
groups. I'm afraid that I won't be able to catch up with everything
before going on holiday, which is a pity.

--
Troels Forchhammer

My adversary's argument
is not alone malevolent
but ignorant to boot.
He hasn't even got the sense
to state his so-called evidence
in terms I can refute.
- Piet Hein, /The Untenable Argument/

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 29, 2004, 6:29:44 PM6/29/04
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 22:56:58 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> This is seen in other stories. I know that Dori of the Fair Folk in
>> the Prydain series (Lloyd Alexander - Welsh mythlogy) is similarly
>> affected by approaching the Land of Evil (TM) in that story.
>
> *Very* pseudo-Welsh! More like 'American Children Story with distant
> Welsh antecedents'. I find the americanisms in the text very
> out-of-place, and I *am* an American.

What Americanisms? I didn't spot any, and I'm not American.

Igenlode Wordsmith

unread,
Jun 29, 2004, 7:18:41 PM6/29/04
to
On 21 Jun 2004 Michelle J. Haines wrote:

>
> First, I'll start by apologizing that this is a little late in the
> day. Our teeny little town's chili cook-off was this weekend, which
> kept us all busy and today I'm giving my daughter her second-grade
> test. Better late than never, right?
>
Right...

:-)

Well, on the assumption that those less tardy than I have discussed all
the major issues, I shall add my customary wittering about previously
unnoticed details:


[snip]

> The Company spends the night at PG, and we get another indication of
> Aragorn's sensitivity when he's restless, wakes up, and asks Frodo to
> draw Sting, which shows Orcs are prowling around.

I liked this attempt at using Sting as an 'early warning system' - but
especially Frodo's reaction. "Draw your sword!" "Why? I can't see any
enemies..."

>
> In the morning, we get a lovely description of Tol Brandir in the
> sunrise,

"Grey faces of inaccessible rock" with "many birds... circling about"
makes me think of those islands that are entirely occupied by sea-gull
roosts; you get rowed around the foot in a boat, and look up the sheer
cliffs to the nests clinging to the tiny space that only birds can get
to. I picture Tol Brandir as a 'Bird Rock' of the Anduin...

[snip]
> Shrewd Sam sees the problem immediately -- Frodo knows he has to go
> to Mordor, but is afraid. He also notes that Boromir is eyeing
> Frodo's movements too closely.

It's a bit surprising, given his close attention here (I'd always assumed
that "plain as a pikestaff" was referring to Boromir's Ring-lust, but
from what Sam says later, apparently it isn't) that Sam is so
unsuspicious later on when he notices that Boromir is missing, despite
the fact that he is linking Boromir and Frodo in the same thought.

[snip]
> He suddenly has a
> feeling of being watched (and not in a nice way) and jumps up to find
> it is Boromir.

I note that Boromir's face is (twice) described here as friendly and
"kind" - for the first time in the book, I think. It's certainly not an
expression we've so far associated with the haughty and recently rather
disagreeable Man. The effect, which I'm sure is deliberate, is the
reverse of what one might assume: it comes out as downright sinister.
Again, when Frodo refuses to let him look at the Ring and he replies
"As you wish. I care not", it pretty obviously implies the reverse.


Why does Boromir catch Frodo up so sharply on the word "warning" - what
is he afraid Frodo may mean?

When he claims "I am a true man, neither thief nor tracker" - is the
'tracker' a jibe at Aragorn? ;-)


Does Saruman really keep wolves in Isengard? It seems an unsuitable
habitat for them...

To the East, Frodo sees Men moving with "chariots of chieftains and
laden wains" - could these be the same Wain-riders who had attacked
from the East long years previously? (Is there some historical basis
for this civilisation? Of the various nomadic peoples of this Earth, I
can't think of one that obviously corresponds, although the bowmen upon
horses from out of the East remind me of the Scythians.)

[snip]
> A flying leap into the river results in Sam now needing to be rescued
> by Frodo, since Sam lacks swimming skills. They have a little, "I'm
> going alone." and "Over my dead body you are!" exchange, pick up
> Sam's gear, and head off.

Finally, a typo question: my [1987 Unwin paperback] edition of "The
Fellowship of the Ring" reads "I couldn't have a borne it, it'd have
been the death of me." I *assume* this is an error for either "I
couldn't 'a borne it" (as in "if I hadn't a guessed right" in the
preceding paragraph) or else for "I couldn't have borne it"?
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

* The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret *

the softrat

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 1:31:34 AM6/30/04
to
On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 22:29:44 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>What Americanisms? I didn't spot any, and I'm not American.
>
So young, and so corrupted......already!

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

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. --
Steven Wright

Count Menelvagor

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 2:20:06 AM6/30/04
to
Michelle J. Haines <mha...@io.nanc.com> wrote in message news:<MPG.1b40f502b...@news.Qwest.net>...

> Finally, Aragorn lays the choice at Frodo's feet. He has to decide
> where to go, and then everyone else must make their choices based on
> that. Frodo is distressed by what he has to face, and requests an
> hour to himself to weigh the possibilities. Shrewd Sam sees the

> problem immediately -- Frodo knows he has to go to Mordor, but is
> afraid. He also notes that Boromir is eyeing Frodo's movements too
> closely.

This introduces the main themes of the chapter: free will, and the
different ways in which characters respond to temptation. (Boromir is
far from the only person tempted in this chapter.) Also that the
temptations are in accord with the personality of the character:
Boromir is tempted to take the Ring and use it as a weapon; Frodo, to
run and hide.


> Boromir's arguments first go from wanting to see the Ring, then
> rejects the argument that it could only be used for good. He quickly
> goes on to point out what good Aragorn could do with the Ring, then
> further points out what HE could do with it. He goes on raving about
> the power of Command, driving the hosts of Mordor before him, men
> flocking to his banners, walls, weapons, alliances, becoming a great
> king himself. I can just see him stomping around, waving his arms
> and ranting while oblivious to his surroundings. I think if I were
> Frodo, I would have high-tailed it out of there pretty quickly. I
> find his whole demeanor frightening.[3][4]

Tolkien is very good at portraying the rapid decline of Boromir -- or
rather, the process by which this decline takes place, if I'm making
myself clear. His motives are, I believe, mixed at the beginning, but
the proximity of the Ring causes the baser motives to dominate.
[Amon Lhaw and Amon Hen]

> flexible about what they can transmit. How were they made? Is this
> more "magic that isn't magic?"

Perhaps they are examples of the magic that was still, in the Third
Age, latent in nature, like the Old Forest or Caradhras -- though
reduced from the First Age (part of the process of demythologization).



> This next paragraph I always found fascinating:
> "The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced
> between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he
> was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye:
> free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so."
>
> So, Gandalf's help torments Frodo nearly as much as Sauron's
> malevolence. And who intervenes to wipe out both influences and
> allow him to make his own choice? Is this another example of Divine
> Influence helping Frodo? I like to think so.

Probably yes, the intervention of Providence, acting however through
Gandalf *and* through Frodo's own free will. IOW, we see here the
interplay of Providence and free will. Incidentally, i don't think
this amounts to a *temptation of Frodo, but more like an attempt by
the Ring to overpower his will. His real temptation, as I mentioned
above (and as Sam observes) is to bolt.

> We go back in time a little to see the events from the perspective of
> the Company. They chat for a while, discussing Frodo's choices and
> their own. The general consensus seems to be they'd like to go to
> Minas Tirith, but will follow Frodo to Mordor if he chooses that way.
> Merry and Pippin seem to think Frodo should be prevented from going
> there altogether -- um, OK. This always makes me wonder if they've
> been wandering about with their fingers in their ears up until now.
> The whole POINT is to go to Mordor, gentlemen!

Perhaps they too are being tempted in a way, albeit in a lesser degree
than Frodo and Boromir. BTW, this whole temptation business puts me
in mind of the testing scene in Lorien, so the theme isn't limited to
this chapter.

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 7:30:11 AM6/30/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:

> The berries are part of a Danish adage where the fox complains that
> they are sour because he couldn't reach them - my dictionary gives
> "sour grapes" as the translation of the adage.

That's interesting, because this goes back at least to a Roman fable,
where they are of course grapes (and in the German version, they
are grapes as well). So I guess the Danish "translator" of this
fable must have thought that grapes were not known well enough in
Denmark, so he probably replaced the grapes by rowan-berries.

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

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Jun 30, 2004, 7:37:18 AM6/30/04
to
Henriette <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I think lijsterbessen are around less *nowadays*, because of their
> somewhat bourgeois connotation.

Any more details about this bourgeios connotation? Is that present in
English or American as well (can any native speaker comment)? (Or did
you just mean that particular word, and not the berries/trees themselves?)

If there is any bourgeois connotation of "Ebereschen" in German, I
definitely have never heard of it.

- Dirk


Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 7:39:03 AM6/30/04
to
Jim Deutch <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote:
> That rings true to me: I think I'd always felt that there was some
> inherent -- or at least ancient -- property of the Hills themselves at
> play here, and that the "seats" were placed there by the early
> Gondorians simply to take advantage of the pre-existing properties of
> sight and hearing that they found there.

That's also what I always thought. It need not even be "magic",
just natural properties, like a good view from Amon Hen, and
some acoustic tricks that allow you to hear many things on Amon Lhaw.

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 7:48:31 AM6/30/04
to
Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 14:37:46 -0600, Michelle J. Haines

> After reading in the Valaquenta [about Manwe and Varda on
> Taniquetil,] I've wondered if this had anything to do with the


> augmentation of the sense of hearing and sight on either hill, and
> the reduction in the other senses, which are experienced by mortals,
> or at least by Numenoreans on the Eye and Ear of the Men of Numenor.
> Is anything said about it in Letters or HoME?

Nothing I can remember. It might just be the same motive, inspired
by actual experience (you *can* see and hear well on high places,
after all). As we all know, Tolkien keeps using similar motives
in different places.

> I've always thought it was the Ring that enabled Sauron to become

> aware of Frodo's long-distance sighting of Mordor. Certainly the Ring
> played a big part ("Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the
> Ring!").

Yes. It also plays probably a part in "augmenting" the "natural"
properties of Amon Hen. I think that's a better way to think than
a "inspirition" by the Ring:

> But that's assuming that the vision was not Ring inspired.

> It reminds me a little bit of the temptation of Christ by the Devil
> out in the wilderness, though of course JRRT has written it totally
> differently and without any noticeable parallel between the two. I
> don't think any comparison was intended, but the general "feel" is
> similar.

> And Frodo doesn't respond at all. That's amazing, when you think
> about it: most people, given such a view, would want to make at least
> part of it their own, and that's where the Ring would grab them;

I have never seen the vision as a temptation. Maybe that's because
I have never felt "tempted" when experiencing a similar sight
in the real world: Up on a tower, on a mountain. You have a beautiful
look at the landscape below you, "small and clear as if they were
under his eyes upon a table, and yet remote", but I never wanted
to "make part of it my own" (that's a totally strange concept in
that context for me).

- Dirk

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 9:07:22 AM6/30/04
to
"Dirk Thierbach" <dthie...@gmx.de> skrev i meddelandet
news:3rkar1-...@ID-7776.user.uni-berlin.de...

In the Swedish translation of Aesop's fable, the grapes were also replaced
with "rönnbär ("rowan berries"). We even have a proverb from that: "Sour,
said the fox about the rowan berries". As well as the word "rönnbärsvisdom"
("rowan berry wisdom") about the attitude of dismissing as worthless that
which one cannot have.

Öjevind


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 3:20:31 PM6/30/04
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 22:29:44 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> What Americanisms? I didn't spot any, and I'm not American.
>>
> So young, and so corrupted......already!

Seriously! What Americanisms?

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 6:11:53 PM6/30/04
to

I think "a bourne it" is the same as "bourne it". Just a dialect
variation or something. So "I couldn't have borne it" would be the same
meaning.

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 6:59:37 PM6/30/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev:

> [about Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw]
>
> > I think they were simply sighting posts to keep a lookout for invading
> > barbarians in the days of Gondor's greatness.
>
> I've just been reading about the days of Gondor's greatness in UT! The
> idea of watchtowers might work. Gondor had fortresses by the River
> (watching the lands to the east) as far north as the Undeeps near the
> Brown Lands. That area (north of Raurus) was of more concern to them as
> far as invasion from the East was concerned. I think that invaders
> through Ithilien (from north or south) had to head to Osgiliath to cross
> Anduin. The Nindalf and Emyn Muil pretty much guarded their parts of the
> river. But if some vision like Frodo's could be accessed, then these
> Hills would be really useful to plan wars against invading forces!

Cool.

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

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Jun 30, 2004, 7:01:52 PM6/30/04
to
"the softrat" <sof...@pobox.com> wrote:

> On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 22:56:58 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >This is seen in other stories. I know that Dori of the Fair Folk in the
> >Prydain series (Lloyd Alexander - Welsh mythlogy) is similarly affected
> >by approaching the Land of Evil (TM) in that story.
>
> *Very* pseudo-Welsh! More like 'American Children Story with distant
> Welsh antecedents'. I find the americanisms in the text very
> out-of-place, and I *am* an American.

I liked those books, though I was a bit annoyed by the fact that in the
first book, Gurgi seemed rather too much like a copy of Gollum.

Öjevind


the softrat

unread,
Jun 30, 2004, 9:29:50 PM6/30/04
to
On Wed, 30 Jun 2004 19:20:31 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 22:29:44 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
>> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>>
>>> What Americanisms? I didn't spot any, and I'm not American.
>>>
>> So young, and so corrupted......already!
>
>Seriously! What Americanisms?

Fortunately I do not own the books and I am not going to borrow books
I don't like to re-review them. I just remember that for books on a
medieval Welsh theme, there were too many rather contemporary American
turns-of-phrase which I found very unpleasant in context.

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

The optimist says the glass is half full. The pessimist says the
glass is half empty. The pragmatist, being thirsty, drinks the
water.