CotW: LotR, Bk. 5, Ch. 5 "The Ride of the Rohirrim"

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RoRowe

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Jan 5, 2005, 3:18:31 PM1/5/05
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This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups' 'Chapter
of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the CotW
homepage at http://parasha.maoltuile.org/.

Synopsis

-------------

Following this particular story line, the last we knew of Merridoc, he
was riding toward Minis Tirith with a soldier named Dernhelm. Merry was
keeping a low profile because he had been ordered by Théoden to remain
behind. [1]

In the chapter immediately preceding "The Ride of the Rohirrim", we are
with Gandalf as he faces the Witch King at the gate to the City. Horns
are heard in the distance as those in Minis Tirith realize that Rohan
had finally come to their aid.

As the chapter opens, Merry is camped with the Rohirrim on their fourth
day out of Dunharrow. Merry is tired and lonely. The long ride, the
quiet and the constant gloom weigh down his heart. He misses Pippin as
he thinks of him in the City lonely and afraid.

Merry learns from Elfhelm, one of Théoden's captains, that the drums
are not of the enemy. They are of the Woses, the Wild Men of the woods.
Elfhelm tells Merry that they live in the Drúadan Forest secretly,
wild and wary as the beasts. They are known to use poisoned arrows and
they are woodcrafty beyond compare. The Wild Men have offered to help
the soldiers. Merry creeps near where their headman sits in council
before Théoden and Éomer.

Ghân-buri-Ghân explains that the Wild Men bring tidings and offer
their assistance as guides. He tells that the stone city is burning and
that the road ahead is held in force against them. The King and Éomer
know he is telling the truth because Ghân's information confirms what
their scouts have already reported. However, Ghân offers new
information. He says there is another forgotten road carved through the
hills ages ago. He agrees to show them the road so the soldiers can
"kill the gorgûn and drive away bad dark with bright iron". [2]

Théoden says that if Ghân-buri-Ghân is faithful in leading them, the
Wild Men will receive gifts and the friendship of the Mark. Ghân
replies that dead men have no friendship or gifts to offer the living.
Ghân says that if the Horse-men live after the Darkness they should
leave the Wild Men alone and at peace in the woods. Théoden agrees
with Ghân's terms. [3]

Merry slips away to get ready for his last ride before the battle. He
thinks that not many of those around him will not survive. Again, he
thinks of Pippin in the burning City. [5]

The Wild Men lead the Rohhirrim through the old abandoned road. They
arrive at its end at the shoulders of Mindolluin. Ghân's pukel-men
report that the walls of Minis Tirith have been breached. But the enemy
is busy on the walls, they are unwary and do not watch the road. (Ghân
seems to think this is funny.) [4] Éomer is greatly encouraged by the
news and their position relative to the enemy. As Ghân departs he
sniffs the air and cries "Wind is changing!". [6]

As they prepare to leave, Elfhelm reports that two dead riders were
found. They believe one was Hirgon because his hand still clasped the
Red Arrow. This discovery indicates that Denethor has no news of
Théoden's riding to his aid.

As the host of Rohan moved toward the fenced wall of the Pelennor
Fields, Dernhelm and Merry move up in position among the King's guards.
Merry hears a rider named Widfara state that indeed the wind is
turning,[6] just as Ghân said. Widfara is convinced that the wind is
out of the South. He says that dawn will come as they pass the wall and
that the morning will bring new things. [8]

Théoden dispatches his captains and their companies. Elfhelm to the
right, Grimbold to the left and Éomer behind the king's banner in the
centre. They pass through the Pelennor virtually unchallenged. As the
soldiers wait for a signal from the King, Théoden seems stunned when
he gazes upon the agony of Minas Tirith burning.

Suddenly, beyond any doubt Merry feels the wind in his face. [6] Dawn
begins to rise [7] and a flash followed by a great boom seems to
awaken the King. [8] He seizes a battle horn and blows a blast that is
answered by other horns. He cries out "Ride now to Gondor!"

The last scene in this chapter is one of Théoden riding into battle as
a reincarnation of his warrior fore-bearers. "Fey he seemed, or the
battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was
borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the
battle of the Valar when the world was young." [9]

Morning came with a wind from the sea. The darkness was removed and the
enemy wailed. "And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they
sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them,[10] and the sound
of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City."

[1.] Many writers use the technique of moving from one story line to
another. But I've never read anyone who uses it better than Tolkien.
What do you think about this technique as used in LOTR?

[2.] How does Ghân know that the battle the Horse-men are riding to is
somehow tied to the darkness. Why does Ghân think the warriors can
"drive away the bad dark with bright iron"?

[3.] Ghân-buri-Ghân is a man of few words. How do we know (and we do
know) that he is totally trustworthy?

[4.] I think Ghân is one of the best written characters in the book.
Any other comments about his cameo appearance here?

[5.] Most of us know that Merry plays a huge role in the outcome of the
upcoming battle. Does Tolkien foreshadow this outcome or Merry's role
in it?

[6]. A change in the wind is mentioned several times in this chapter.
What affect does this have on the story?

[7.] Dawn has been a good omen for the Men of the West so far in this
story. (I'm reminded of Aragorn's words just before dawn at Helms
Deep.)

[8.] What is the flash and the boom that Théoden sees and hears?

[9.] The language takes on an epic quality here. Our perspective moves
from Théoden's side to a bird's eye view of the entire scene.

[10.] "... and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on
them ..." Does anyone else think this is creepy.

Dan_Leach

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Jan 5, 2005, 6:10:21 PM1/5/05
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[8.] What is the flash and the boom that Théoden sees and hears?

I think that would be Grond breaking the doors of Minas Tirith

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 5, 2005, 7:20:39 PM1/5/05
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[crossposted to AFT]

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 5, 2005, 7:45:24 PM1/5/05
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> RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>> This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups'
>> 'Chapter of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the
>> CotW homepage at http://parasha.maoltuile.org/.

[Ride of the Rohirrim]

<snip most of an excellent summary>

>> As the host of Rohan moved toward the fenced wall of the Pelennor
>> Fields, Dernhelm and Merry move up in position among the King's
>> guards. Merry hears a rider named Widfara state that indeed the wind
>> is turning,[6] just as Ghân said. Widfara is convinced that the wind
>> is out of the South. He says that dawn will come as they pass the
>> wall and that the morning will bring new things. [8]

Does anyone know what the name Widfara means? Does the name have any
significance with regard to the foresight he shows? The scene also seems
fairly biblical:

"I live upon the open Wold in days of peace; Widfara is my name, and to
me also the air brings messages. Already the wind is turning. There
comes a breath out of the South; there is a sea-tang in it, faint though
it be. The morning will bring new things. Above the reek it will be dawn
when you pass the wall."

"'If you speak truly, Widfara, then may you live beyond this day in
years of blessedness!' said Theoden."

[...]

>> Théoden seems stunned when
>> he gazes upon the agony of Minas Tirith burning.

The description of this provides a great contrast to what follows, and
Merry's reaction is also seen here:

"[Theoden seemed] stricken suddenly by anguish, or by dread. He seemed
to shrink down, cowed by age. Merry himself felt as if a great weight of
horror and doubt had settled on him. His heart beat slowly. Time seemed
poised in uncertainty."

>> Suddenly, beyond any doubt Merry feels the wind in his face. [6] Dawn
>> begins to rise [7] and a flash followed by a great boom seems to
>> awaken the King. [8]

There is a lovely description here of the flash illuminating the city,
reminding us that it is still dark at the moment before the dawn.

>> He seizes a battle horn and blows a blast that
>> is answered by other horns. He cries out "Ride now to Gondor!"

And I love this bit:

"...spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!"

>> The last scene in this chapter is one of Théoden riding into battle
>> as a reincarnation of his warrior fore-bearers.

And this is such a great bit of writing!

>> "Fey he seemed, or
>> the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and
>> he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the
>> Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young." [9]

"His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the
Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed."

>> Morning came with a wind from the sea. The darkness was removed and
>> the enemy wailed. "And then all the host of Rohan burst into song,
>> and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them,[10]
>> and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even
>> to the City."
>>
>> [1.] Many writers use the technique of moving from one story line to
>> another. But I've never read anyone who uses it better than Tolkien.
>> What do you think about this technique as used in LOTR?

I think it is a technique that is done well for these first 6 chapters
in RotK, where we switch between the stories of Pippin and Merry (with a
brief diversion to Aragorn's journey).

I particularly like the way the action switches back to Gandalf after
two chapters, picking up the thread of the story again straightaway
between 'The Siege of Gondor' and 'The Pyre of Denethor'.

For Merry's storyline, I think it is amazing that the fact that we know
where the Rohirrim will end up (from the scene at the end of 'The Siege
of Gondor'), does nothing to detract from the power of the story in this
chapter: 'The Ride of the Rohirrim', and the climax to the chapter
dovetails so neatly with the end of the previous chapter.

<snip>

Only a brief response here. There are too many other CotW posts that
I've left unanwered that I need to read.... :-(

>> [9.] The language takes on an epic quality here. Our perspective
>> moves from Théoden's side to a bird's eye view of the entire scene.

At moments like this you can really imagine a camera POV moving around.
The writing is just _so_ cinematic and epic. The Jackson film did this
bit really well, all things considered.

>> [10.] "... and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on
>> them ..." Does anyone else think this is creepy.

Yes. But it is that Germanic/Norse ethic. Maybe it is meant to recall
the baresarkers, but I am sure others more versed in Norse and Germanic
history and literature can give some pointers here.

Christopher

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

Larry Swain

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Jan 6, 2005, 12:44:36 AM1/6/05
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

>>RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>>
>>>This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups'
>>>'Chapter of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the
>>>CotW homepage at http://parasha.maoltuile.org/.
>
>
> [Ride of the Rohirrim]
>
> <snip most of an excellent summary>
>
>>>As the host of Rohan moved toward the fenced wall of the Pelennor
>>>Fields, Dernhelm and Merry move up in position among the King's
>>>guards. Merry hears a rider named Widfara state that indeed the wind
>>>is turning,[6] just as Ghân said. Widfara is convinced that the wind
>>>is out of the South. He says that dawn will come as they pass the
>>>wall and that the morning will bring new things. [8]
>
>
> Does anyone know what the name Widfara means? Does the name have any
> significance with regard to the foresight he shows? The scene also seems
> fairly biblical:
>
> "I live upon the open Wold in days of peace; Widfara is my name, and to
> me also the air brings messages. Already the wind is turning. There
> comes a breath out of the South; there is a sea-tang in it, faint though
> it be. The morning will bring new things. Above the reek it will be dawn
> when you pass the wall."
>
> "'If you speak truly, Widfara, then may you live beyond this day in
> years of blessedness!' said Theoden."
>
> [...]


My guess would be that the name is a compound "wid" from which we have
modern "wide" and "fara" from "faran", to fare, to journey, travel,
hence "widefarer" is his name, Fartraveler.

AC

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Jan 6, 2005, 1:45:12 PM1/6/05
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On 5 Jan 2005 12:18:31 -0800,
RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>
> [2.] How does Ghân know that the battle the Horse-men are riding to is
> somehow tied to the darkness. Why does Ghân think the warriors can
> "drive away the bad dark with bright iron"?

We glimpse it in LotR, but in UT we get to know the Druedain a bit better,
and they do seem to be a people with some peculiar gifts.

>
> [3.] Ghân-buri-Ghân is a man of few words. How do we know (and we do
> know) that he is totally trustworthy?

I don't think the Riders have much of a choice at this point. Beyond that,
it's pretty clear, whatever their feelings on the Riders, that they hate
Orcs much worse.

>
> [4.] I think Ghân is one of the best written characters in the book.
> Any other comments about his cameo appearance here?

Yup, he's very cool, and I also think he's a means that JRRT uses to show us
that even the good guys can behave badly. It seems the Druedain were very
badly treated, and yet still offered aid in the battle against Sauron.

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

ste...@nomail.com

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Jan 6, 2005, 1:56:54 PM1/6/05
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In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
:> RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
:>> [1.] Many writers use the technique of moving from one story line to

:>> another. But I've never read anyone who uses it better than Tolkien.
:>> What do you think about this technique as used in LOTR?

: I think it is a technique that is done well for these first 6 chapters
: in RotK, where we switch between the stories of Pippin and Merry (with a
: brief diversion to Aragorn's journey).

: I particularly like the way the action switches back to Gandalf after
: two chapters, picking up the thread of the story again straightaway
: between 'The Siege of Gondor' and 'The Pyre of Denethor'.

I have always thought that was one of the weaker transitions
in the book. We are left with the very dramatic moment where
Gandalf and the Nazgul facing each other down. Then there is a whole
chapter about the Rohirrim. When Tolkien returns to the Gandalf/Witch King
confrontation there is no mention of Gandalf at all. All we get is
"King Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgul, he had many weapons. He
left the Gate and vanished."
Another whole chapter goes by and then we are told what Gandalf does,
and here the Witch King is not mentioned directly.
"When the dark shadow at the Gat withdrew Gandalf still sat
motionless."
It all comes across as very disjointed and the drama and tension of
the confrontation at the gate is lost.

Imagine if somebody filmed it that way. One scene shows the Witch King and
Gandalf about to engage in mortal combat. Then it cuts away to 10 or so
minutes of other stuff. Then it shows the Witch King leaving the gate,
but does not show Gandalf at all. Then 10 or so minutes of fighting.
Then it shows Gandalf standing by himself at the Gate.

Stephen

Morgil

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Jan 6, 2005, 3:09:22 PM1/6/05
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ste...@nomail.com wrote:

> Imagine if somebody filmed it that way. One scene shows the Witch King and
> Gandalf about to engage in mortal combat. Then it cuts away to 10 or so
> minutes of other stuff. Then it shows the Witch King leaving the gate,
> but does not show Gandalf at all. Then 10 or so minutes of fighting.
> Then it shows Gandalf standing by himself at the Gate.

Sounds like an average Tarantino/Guy Ritchie film.

Morgil

Raven

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Jan 6, 2005, 2:58:11 PM1/6/05
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"Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> skrev i en meddelelse
news:DIydncYOz-r...@rcn.net...

> Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> > Does anyone know what the name Widfara means? Does the name have any
> > significance with regard to the foresight he shows? The scene also seems
> > fairly biblical:

> My guess would be that the name is a compound "wid" from which we have


> modern "wide" and "fara" from "faran", to fare, to journey, travel,
> hence "widefarer" is his name, Fartraveler.

This is what I make of it too, since it is like in form to a hypothetical
Norwegian name "Vidfarer". If I were to translate the LotR to Norwegian, I
would probably have translated "Widfara" as "Vidfare" (which has a more
archaic feel than "Vidfarer"). I haven't read the Norwegian version since I
was a boy, so I don't remember if this was the translation used.

Hrafn.


Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 6, 2005, 5:20:02 PM1/6/05
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In message
<news:slrnctr1po.pu....@aaronclausen.alberni.net> AC
<mightym...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:
>
> On 5 Jan 2005 12:18:31 -0800,
> RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>>

<snip>

>> [3.] Ghân-buri-Ghân is a man of few words. How do we know (and we
>> do know) that he is totally trustworthy?
>
> I don't think the Riders have much of a choice at this point.
> Beyond that, it's pretty clear, whatever their feelings on the
> Riders, that they hate Orcs much worse.

A common enemy is always a good basis for opening negotiations ;-)

And of course Ghân offers himself as hostage to the Rohirrim --
something which also tends to instill confidence.

<snip>

> Yup, he's very cool, and I also think he's a means that JRRT uses
> to show us that even the good guys can behave badly.

<sarcasm>
You can't mean that! Haven't you heard that LotR is all black-black and
white-white?
</sarcasm>

Of course you're right. The Rohirrim may have acted in ignorance rather
than malice, but I've always seen in this a reminder against easy
presumptions and prejudice.

> It seems the Druedain were very badly treated,

The Rohirrim (according to UT) didn't even recognise their humanity.
That might explain better what Ghân-buri-Ghân meant by "then leave Wild
Men alone in the woods and do not hunt them like beasts any more."

> and yet still offered aid in the battle against Sauron.

And offered it to their tormentors -- a noble action.

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

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

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 6, 2005, 5:29:42 PM1/6/05
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In message <news:pjhDd.356$YZ2...@news.get2net.dk>
"Raven" <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> enriched us
with:
>
> "Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> skrev i en meddelelse
> news:DIydncYOz-r...@rcn.net...
>>

<snip>

'Widfara'

>> My guess would be that the name is a compound "wid" from which we
>> have modern "wide" and "fara" from "faran", to fare, to journey,
>> travel, hence "widefarer" is his name, Fartraveler.
>
> This is what I make of it too, since it is like in form to a
> hypothetical Norwegian name "Vidfarer".

Aye.

> If I were to translate the LotR to Norwegian, I would probably have
> translated "Widfara" as "Vidfare"

It's 'Vidfara' in the Danish translation. Not being an expert, I can't
say if that is more correct than 'Vidfare' which would also have been
my choice for a Danish translation.

The sense of 'fartraveller' is still obvious in the Danish translation,
however.

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

A Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength. It has been universally
established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white
pigeon or three normal sized billiard balls.
- (Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic)

Morgil

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Jan 6, 2005, 6:12:34 PM1/6/05
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Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> In message
> <news:slrnctr1po.pu....@aaronclausen.alberni.net> AC
> <mightym...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:

>>Yup, he's very cool, and I also think he's a means that JRRT uses


>>to show us that even the good guys can behave badly.
>
>
> <sarcasm>
> You can't mean that! Haven't you heard that LotR is all black-black and
> white-white?
> </sarcasm>
>
> Of course you're right. The Rohirrim may have acted in ignorance rather
> than malice, but I've always seen in this a reminder against easy
> presumptions and prejudice.
>
>
>>It seems the Druedain were very badly treated,
>
>
> The Rohirrim (according to UT) didn't even recognise their humanity.
> That might explain better what Ghân-buri-Ghân meant by "then leave Wild
> Men alone in the woods and do not hunt them like beasts any more."
>
>
>>and yet still offered aid in the battle against Sauron.
>
>
> And offered it to their tormentors -- a noble action.

A-ha! Now I get it! It's obviously nothing more then Tolkien
reminding the oppressed natives of former British Empire that
even though *they* were treated like crap, they are still
expected to behave nicely towards the White Man, and help him
should he be in trouble. What Imperialist Stooge he was!!

Ob: ;-)

Morgil

Raven

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Jan 6, 2005, 5:55:00 PM1/6/05
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"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> skrev i en meddelelse
news:Xns95D6EF66...@130.133.1.4...

> In message <news:pjhDd.356$YZ2...@news.get2net.dk>
> "Raven" <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> enriched us
> with:

> > If I were to translate the LotR to Norwegian, I would probably have
> > translated "Widfara" as "Vidfare"

> It's 'Vidfara' in the Danish translation. Not being an expert, I can't
> say if that is more correct than 'Vidfare' which would also have been
> my choice for a Danish translation.

Many Norwegian dialects retain the feminine grammatical gender. In
analogy with eg. "Mannvitsbrekka" ("The man-wit breaker", a recorded
Viking-age nickname for a woman of such beauty that men went mad with
desire) I should consider "Vidfara" to mean not "Far-traveller" but "The
Far-traveller" as applied to a woman.

Hrafn.


Öjevind Lång

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Jan 6, 2005, 7:13:19 PM1/6/05
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"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> skrev i meddelandet

news:Xns95D6EF66...@130.133.1.4...
> In message <news:pjhDd.356$YZ2...@news.get2net.dk>

[snip]

> It's 'Vidfara' in the Danish translation. Not being an expert, I can't
> say if that is more correct than 'Vidfare' which would also have been
> my choice for a Danish translation.

It's Vidfara in the Swedish translation too, and I thought it prfect.

Öjevind


Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 6, 2005, 7:16:25 PM1/6/05
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Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>> "Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> skrev:

>
> 'Widfara'
>
>>> My guess would be that the name is a compound "wid" from which we
>>> have modern "wide" and "fara" from "faran", to fare, to journey,
>>> travel, hence "widefarer" is his name, Fartraveler.

<snip>

> The sense of 'fartraveller' is still obvious in the Danish
> translation, however.

But not in the English translation! :-)

[unless one knows some Old English]

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 6, 2005, 7:28:23 PM1/6/05
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ste...@nomail.com <ste...@nomail.com> wrote:
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>> RoRowe <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>>>> [1.] Many writers use the technique of moving from one story line
>>>> to another. But I've never read anyone who uses it better than
>>>> Tolkien. What do you think about this technique as used in LOTR?
>
>> I think it is a technique that is done well for these first 6
>> chapters in RotK, where we switch between the stories of Pippin and
>> Merry (with a brief diversion to Aragorn's journey).
>
>> I particularly like the way the action switches back to Gandalf after
>> two chapters, picking up the thread of the story again straightaway
>> between 'The Siege of Gondor' and 'The Pyre of Denethor'.
>
> I have always thought that was one of the weaker transitions
> in the book.

<snip>

> It all comes across as very disjointed and the drama and tension of
> the confrontation at the gate is lost.

Having thought about it, I kind of agree with you. But not fully! :-)

The WK-Gandalf tension was there in the initial moments of the
confrontation (at the end of 'The Siege of Gondor'), and so maybe it is
not needed any more, and so Tolkien moves on to write about other things
(the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the Pyre of Denethor).

It kind of indirectly makes sense that he doesn't dwell on this
confrontation that never came to fruition. Maybe that was the only way
he could handle it? Writing it any other way would distract from the
real point of the two chapters in questions (Pelennor and Pyre). The
WK-Gandalf tension has served its purpose. Maybe in the case of the
start of 'Pelennor', there should have been a mention of Gandalf at the
beginning, rather than the mention (or thought) by Merry a long way into
the chapter:

"Where is Gandalf? Is he not here?"

But in the case of 'Pyre', we know what has happened to the WK, and
there is absolutely no point in making a big deal out of the
confrontation. The important thing to write about here is Denethor.

Larry Swain

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Jan 7, 2005, 12:01:01 AM1/7/05
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Raven wrote:

Hi Hrafn,

In this case of course Old English "wid" and Old Norse "vid" are the
same Germanic root, likewise "faran" in both languages.....pretty cool
stuff, these language puzzles the professor sets us!

Larry Swain

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Jan 7, 2005, 12:11:04 AM1/7/05
to

I agree it isn't obvious, but I think with a little thought you could
arrive there.

Larry Swain

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Jan 7, 2005, 12:19:55 AM1/7/05
to

Raven wrote:

In Old English though there is a large class of nouns the majority of
whose endings end in -an; often (though not always) the nominative
singular drops the -n, and so becomes -a. fara (traveller, traveling
companion, comrade) is one such noun formed from the verb faran.

the softrat

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Jan 7, 2005, 3:48:41 AM1/7/05
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'prfect'??!!???

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
-- Steven Wright

the softrat

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Jan 7, 2005, 3:49:55 AM1/7/05
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*I* attempt to use as little thought as possible. I don't want to use
it all up before its time.

Geirroeth

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Jan 7, 2005, 4:09:48 PM1/7/05
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Larry Swain <thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

>I agree it isn't obvious, but I think with a little thought you could
>arrive there.
>

I did! The first thought I had was "possibly Wid-fara = wide-farer =
far-traveller". I don't know any Old English except what I've picked
up from Tolkien.

Steve Morrison

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 7, 2005, 6:10:35 PM1/7/05
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in <txkDd.4954$GG1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>

<snip>

[Widfara]

>> The sense of 'fartraveller' is still obvious in the Danish
>> translation, however.
>
> But not in the English translation! :-)
>
> [unless one knows some Old English]

What can I say -- occasionally a little knowledge about Scan linguistics
is a boon when reading Tolkien . . .

And we do do our best to elucidate you ;-)

--
Troels Forchhammer

A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.
- (Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!)

Raven

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Jan 7, 2005, 6:40:45 PM1/7/05
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> skrev i en meddelelse
news:348j7bF...@individual.net...

> What can I say -- occasionally a little knowledge about Scan linguistics
> is a boon when reading Tolkien . . .

> And we do do our best to elucidate you ;-)

Another example is the name of the old warrior at Hornburg. If you know
Scand, "Gamling" is a dead giveaway. It means, in that very form and
literally, "Old Man". I can't offhand remember seeing it in Danish,
although it is derived from the adjective "gammel" which exists in both
Danish and Weejun. It is commonly used in Weejun.
"Gamla" means "The old woman". If Tolkien had added a Rohirric or
Lake-town version of Ioreth, I should not be surprised if he had called her
"Gamla". It would have been a cute linguistic jest, and not too far removed
from English phonology.

Ravn.


Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 7, 2005, 8:38:07 PM1/7/05
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Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> And we do do our best to elucidate you ;-)

Can you really elucidate people? :-)
I've heard of elucidating meaning, but people?

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 8, 2005, 11:26:49 AM1/8/05
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In message <news:3QGDd.5765$GG1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

Please illuminate me :-)

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

++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.
- (Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times)

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 8, 2005, 11:36:02 AM1/8/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:3QGDd.5765$GG1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
>> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>>> And we do do our best to elucidate you ;-)
>>
>> Can you really elucidate people? :-)
>> I've heard of elucidating meaning, but people?
>
> Please illuminate me :-)

This still isn't working! :-)
That phrase makes me think of shining a torch on someone.

The phrase I would use is "please enlighten me".

But I would still use the words "illuminating", "meaningful elucidation"
and "enlightening" to describe your posts! ;-)

Michele Fry

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Jan 8, 2005, 2:24:49 PM1/8/05
to
In article <SZTDd.6093$GG1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>, Christopher
Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes

>> Please illuminate me :-)
>
>This still isn't working! :-)
>That phrase makes me think of shining a torch on someone.

Ha ! I was going to make a joke along those lines... Our minds were
obviously working in the same direction there...

>The phrase I would use is "please enlighten me".

I would too...

>But I would still use the words "illuminating", "meaningful elucidation"
>and "enlightening" to describe your posts! ;-)

Definitely !

Michele
==
"A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have
possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you
pass it on you are enriched threefold."
- Henry Miller 'The Books In My Life' (1969)
==
Now reading: The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
==
Commit random acts of literacy! Read & Release at Bookcrossing:
http://www.bookcrossing.com/friend/Sass-80

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 10, 2005, 2:36:42 AM1/10/05
to
in <SZTDd.6093$GG1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>,

Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>> In message <news:3QGDd.5765$GG1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>>
>>> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>>
>>>> And we do do our best to elucidate you ;-)
>>>
>>> Can you really elucidate people? :-)
>>> I've heard of elucidating meaning, but people?
>>
>> Please illuminate me :-)
>
> This still isn't working! :-)
> That phrase makes me think of shining a torch on someone.
>
> The phrase I would use is "please enlighten me".

Thanks.

So, what I really meant was that we do our best to elucidate the usage
(of Old English in ways that are understandable in modern Scandinavian),
in a manner which is hopefully illuminating, and leastways attempts to
enlighten the reader?

;-)

> But I would still use the words "illuminating", "meaningful
> elucidation" and "enlightening" to describe your posts! ;-)

<bows>

Thank you, sir!

--
Troels Forchhammer

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 10, 2005, 4:21:45 AM1/10/05
to
On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 16:36:02 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>> In message <news:3QGDd.5765$GG1....@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>>
>>> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>>
>>>> And we do do our best to elucidate you ;-)
>>>
>>> Can you really elucidate people? :-)
>>> I've heard of elucidating meaning, but people?
>>
>> Please illuminate me :-)
>
>This still isn't working! :-)
>That phrase makes me think of shining a torch on someone.
>
>The phrase I would use is "please enlighten me".

No, here "illuminate" works. It's a bit unusual and bit
faux-sophisticated in style, but it is acceptable English.

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

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 10, 2005, 4:21:43 AM1/10/05
to

I figured it was "wide-farer" and I'm no linguistic genius type
person. It's still pretty close to modern English.

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

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 10, 2005, 4:21:47 AM1/10/05
to
On 6 Jan 2005 22:20:02 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>The Rohirrim (according to UT) didn't even recognise their humanity.
>That might explain better what Ghân-buri-Ghân meant by "then leave Wild
>Men alone in the woods and do not hunt them like beasts any more."

I have trouble believing that the Rohirrim were actually of much
danger to the Wild Men in their woods, however. Probably more of a
nuisance, scaring the game, rather than much of a real threat. The
Woses are ultra-woodscrafty while the Rohirrim are plains-people.

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

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 10, 2005, 4:21:48 AM1/10/05
to
On 5 Jan 2005 12:18:31 -0800, "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:

>This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups' 'Chapter
>of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the CotW
>homepage at http://parasha.maoltuile.org/.

I'm commenting on the current chapter! Caught up at last!

>Following this particular story line, the last we knew of Merridoc, he
>was riding toward Minis Tirith with a soldier named Dernhelm. Merry was
>keeping a low profile because he had been ordered by Théoden to remain
>behind. [1]

But there seems to be a silent agreement that nobody will notice he
has disobeyed orders. Which once again shows that simple obedience and
a rigid chain-of-command are not the values of the Rohirric warriors.
Since Merry has found a willing ride, his disobedience is quietly
overlooked. Which seems fair enough. He had no duties which he
abandoned by riding off to war. Unlike somebody else who went along.

>As the chapter opens, Merry is camped with the Rohirrim on their fourth
>day out of Dunharrow. Merry is tired and lonely. The long ride, the
>quiet and the constant gloom weigh down his heart. He misses Pippin as
>he thinks of him in the City lonely and afraid.

We also get to see Merry wanting to ride to Pippin's rescue. Merry
really is the most heroic of the hobbits (as opposed to Frodo, who is
the most saintly) -- I think Merry would have made his mark even
without the War of the Ring thrusting greatness on him. Although his
fame would then doubtless have been rather less widespread.

>Merry learns from Elfhelm, one of Théoden's captains, that the drums
>are not of the enemy. They are of the Woses, the Wild Men of the woods.

Woses are red,
Violence is blue.
We hate the orcs
And they do, too.

Tra la la la lally.

>Ghân-buri-Ghân

Cool name or what?

>"kill the gorgûn and drive away bad dark with bright iron". [2]

I wonder if "gorgûn" was inspired by "gorgon", the monsters from Greek
mythology. Perhaps it is only a coincidence, but it might be another
of Tolkien's little linguistic jokes.

>Théoden says that if Ghân-buri-Ghân is faithful in leading them, the
>Wild Men will receive gifts and the friendship of the Mark. Ghân
>replies that dead men have no friendship or gifts to offer the living.

Sunshine and bird song, he is. Still, he has a point.

>The Wild Men lead the Rohhirrim through the old abandoned road. They
>arrive at its end at the shoulders of Mindolluin. Ghân's pukel-men
>report that the walls of Minis Tirith have been breached. But the enemy
>is busy on the walls, they are unwary and do not watch the road. (Ghân
>seems to think this is funny.)

Oh, almost forgot to mention. Ghan makes an interesting contrast to
another old-looking guide, poor Smeagol. He's less developed, of
course, but both have odd styles of speaking, strange little sounds
(*gollum*, Ghan's odd laughter), provide unlooked for guidance by
secret ways avoiding the enemy, and are physically unusual. There are
important differences, of course. Ghan is trustworthy and seems very
open and (under the circumstances) good-humored. But even in the
differences, one finds interesting parallel. Frodo must accept
Gollum's service in spite of past aggression, Ghan offers his service
in spite of past aggression.

>[4] Éomer is greatly encouraged by the
>news and their position relative to the enemy. As Ghân departs he
>sniffs the air and cries "Wind is changing!". [6]

Gollum also notices shifting wind before those he guides do.

>As the host of Rohan moved toward the fenced wall of the Pelennor
>Fields, Dernhelm and Merry move up in position among the King's guards.

Another sign that this is not a modern style army.

>Suddenly, beyond any doubt Merry feels the wind in his face. [6] Dawn
>begins to rise [7] and a flash followed by a great boom seems to
>awaken the King. [8] He seizes a battle horn and blows a blast that is
>answered by other horns. He cries out "Ride now to Gondor!"

Oh, this should be quoted in full:
Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

Very nice. Note that "Gondor" is used figuratively here, either
representing its chief city or its people, as they are already in
Gondor at this point. I love the use of "red day" to indicate bloody
battle, right next to the image of sunrise, which also makes the day
red. Nice double image.

>[2.] How does Ghân know that the battle the Horse-men are riding to is
>somehow tied to the darkness. Why does Ghân think the warriors can
>"drive away the bad dark with bright iron"?

Well, just because they run around in the woods hunting doesn't mean
they're drunken idiots -- things were different then. As far as the
relationship between the battle and the darkness, that's pretty
obvious. As for why the Woses hope that Gondor and its allies can
drive away Sauron: well, they did it before. It's a long time for the
oral tradition to have survived in comprehensible form, but things
seem to last longer in Middle-earth.

>[3.] Ghân-buri-Ghân is a man of few words. How do we know (and we do
>know) that he is totally trustworthy?

He offers himself as hostage. He clearly hates orcs more than the
Rohirrim. He rejects the idea of rewards beyond being left alone.

>[4.] I think Ghân is one of the best written characters in the book.
>Any other comments about his cameo appearance here?

The one thing I think Tolkien does exceptionally well in his writing,
the thing that really stands out, is how well he brings to life
characters who appear in only a chapter or are otherwise given limited
time. His minor characters are usually very well written. I think this
does more to make Middle-earth feel real than even the deep backstory
that gets the usual credit.

>[5.] Most of us know that Merry plays a huge role in the outcome of the
>upcoming battle. Does Tolkien foreshadow this outcome or Merry's role
>in it?

Actually, if anything, I'd say we are led to think Theoden was right
in thinking he isn't suited to the battle. "Master Bag"

>[10.] "... and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on
>them ..." Does anyone else think this is creepy.

Doesn't everyone sing while they slay? It's like whistling while you
work.

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 10, 2005, 2:58:59 PM1/10/05
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I wonder what the Woses would have thought of the Ents?

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 10, 2005, 3:11:23 PM1/10/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

>>> 'Widfara'

> I figured it was "wide-farer" and I'm no linguistic genius type
> person. It's still pretty close to modern English.

I guess I was misled by the 'wid-' bit, and pronouncing it like the wid-
element in 'widdle' (pronounced like middle - sorry! couldn't think of a
more suitable word). And pronouncing the 'fara' bit like 'far-rah'. The
pronounciation of wid-fara and wide-farer are just so different I would
have to sit down and think about widfara to get the meaning.

I guess I might get the meaning now I do think about things like that.
But when I first read the book, I didn't really pay attention to things
like that. There was a battle to be fought! (Or at least a battle to
read about).

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 10, 2005, 5:30:16 PM1/10/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
> On 5 Jan 2005 12:18:31 -0800, "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:
>
>> This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups'
>> 'Chapter of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the
>> CotW homepage at http://parasha.maoltuile.org/.
>
> I'm commenting on the current chapter! Caught up at last!

:-)

>> Following this particular story line, the last we knew of Merridoc,
>> he was riding toward Minis Tirith with a soldier named Dernhelm.
>> Merry was keeping a low profile because he had been ordered by
>> Théoden to remain behind. [1]
>
> But there seems to be a silent agreement that nobody will notice he
> has disobeyed orders. Which once again shows that simple obedience and
> a rigid chain-of-command are not the values of the Rohirric warriors.
> Since Merry has found a willing ride, his disobedience is quietly
> overlooked. Which seems fair enough. He had no duties which he
> abandoned by riding off to war. Unlike somebody else who went along.

But surely Dernhelm was also tacitly allowed to come along by Elfhelm?

<snip>

>> Merry learns from Elfhelm, one of Théoden's captains, that the drums
>> are not of the enemy. They are of the Woses, the Wild Men of the
>> woods.
>
> Woses are red,
> Violence is blue.
> We hate the orcs
> And they do, too.
>
> Tra la la la lally.

ROTFL!

<snip>

>> Théoden says that if Ghân-buri-Ghân is faithful in leading them, the
>> Wild Men will receive gifts and the friendship of the Mark. Ghân
>> replies that dead men have no friendship or gifts to offer the
>> living.
>
> Sunshine and bird song, he is. Still, he has a point.

LOL! The humour in this chapter _is_ nice.

<snip>

> Oh, almost forgot to mention. Ghan makes an interesting contrast to
> another old-looking guide, poor Smeagol.

Interesting!

> Gollum also notices shifting wind before those he guides do.

It's definite! Hobbits are related to the Woses!! :-)

[Despite the Woses' lack of hairy feet]

<snip>

>> [4.] I think Ghân is one of the best written characters in the book.
>> Any other comments about his cameo appearance here?
>
> The one thing I think Tolkien does exceptionally well in his writing,
> the thing that really stands out, is how well he brings to life
> characters who appear in only a chapter or are otherwise given limited
> time. His minor characters are usually very well written. I think this
> does more to make Middle-earth feel real than even the deep backstory
> that gets the usual credit.

Never thought of that before. But I'm not likely to forget it now. What
other 'minor' characters would you say are other examples, or the best
examples of this?

<snip>

>> [10.] "... and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on
>> them ..." Does anyone else think this is creepy.
>
> Doesn't everyone sing while they slay? It's like whistling while you
> work.

I hope you are being sarcastic here... :-)

The singing here is an interesting contrast to the silence and cries of
'Death' we get in the next chapter (sorry, I've been reading ahead).
There are at several types of 'fey' and battle moods we see here and in
the next chapter: Theoden's initial onset, a certain someone's
fatalistic attitude and despair that inspires Merry's slow-kindled
courage, several moments of grief, Eomer's icy cold fury, and Eomer's
laughing attitude.

Are these all realistic depictions of battle moods, and are they
inspired by any Northern spirit in Tolkien's writings?

Jens Kilian

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Jan 10, 2005, 6:01:50 PM1/10/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> writes:
> I have trouble believing that the Rohirrim were actually of much
> danger to the Wild Men in their woods, however. Probably more of a
> nuisance, scaring the game, rather than much of a real threat. The
> Woses are ultra-woodscrafty while the Rohirrim are plains-people.

Perhaps the Woses ate horses. That would justify punitive expeditions,
to the Rohirrim.

Consider:
- There seems to be a sizable population in Druadan Forest; big enough for
surviving two Ages of the world without dying off from inbreeding.
- The Woses seem to live at the hunter-gatherer stage of existence.
- Hunter-gatherers are usually nomadic, since they have to follow animal
migrations or change hunting grounds after depleting them. Yet the Woses
are sessile.

I don't remember if this is mentioned anywhere. (_Letters_?)
--
mailto:j...@acm.org As the air to a bird, or the sea to a fish,
http://www.bawue.de/~jjk/ so is contempt to the contemptible. [Blake]

Jens Kilian

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Jan 10, 2005, 6:08:36 PM1/10/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> writes:
> Doesn't everyone sing while they slay?

Arrgh. I'll probably dream of Groucho Marx in chain mail tonight.

Pete Gray

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Jan 11, 2005, 6:18:11 PM1/11/05
to
In article <87r7ksa...@gondolin.bb.bawue.de>, j...@acm.org says...

> R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> writes:
> > Doesn't everyone sing while they slay?
>
> Arrgh. I'll probably dream of Groucho Marx in chain mail tonight.
>

"Sing'n'kills"

Slashing through the foe
On a war-horse as I slay
Oe'r the field I go
Laughing all the way

Swords on armour ring
Making spirits bright
Oh what fun it is to sing
A slaying song tonight!

Sing and kill, sing and kill,
Singing all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a war-horse as I slay.

--
Pete Gray

Say No to ID Cards <http://www.no2id.net>
<http://www.redbadge.co.uk/no2idcards/>

Jim Deutch

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Jan 13, 2005, 2:26:18 PM1/13/05
to
On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 01:21:48 -0800, R. Dan Henry
<danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

>Gh=E2n-buri-Gh=E2n

>On 5 Jan 2005 12:18:31 -0800, "RoRowe" <roro...@netscape.net> wrote:

>>Ghān-buri-Ghān
>
>Cool name or what?

RDH posted from Google, and it came up in my Free Agent 1.21 with the
non-standard characters all garbled, as above (ā shows up as =E2).
You quoted his post using Agent 2.0 and then it showed in mine just
perfectly. <grumble\>

Jim Deutch (Jimbocat)
--
I think it must be God's punishment for me not believing in him.
- Nick Connolly

Jim Deutch

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Jan 13, 2005, 2:26:15 PM1/13/05
to
On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 22:30:16 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
>> The one thing I think Tolkien does exceptionally well in his writing,
>> the thing that really stands out, is how well he brings to life
>> characters who appear in only a chapter or are otherwise given limited
>> time. His minor characters are usually very well written. I think this
>> does more to make Middle-earth feel real than even the deep backstory
>> that gets the usual credit.
>
>Never thought of that before. But I'm not likely to forget it now. What
>other 'minor' characters would you say are other examples, or the best
>examples of this?

Ted Sandyman in the Green Dragon.
Head of the Proudfoot clan at Bilbo's Party ("ProudFEET!").
Fatty Bolger, at Crickhollow.
Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.
Bill Ferny, and to a lesser extent Harry the Gatekeeper.
Definitely Butterbur, annoying though he is!
Haldir in Lothlorien.
Grishnakh.
Quickbeam.
Ioreth, the "wise-woman of Gondor" (see note on Butterbur!)
Shagrat and Gorbag
Shelob

This list could go on a whole lot longer, but I'll leave it at that!

Jim Deutch (Jimbocat)
--
The great danger of
Hydrogen cyanide is
Not to be sniffed at

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 15, 2005, 3:50:47 PM1/15/05
to
On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 22:30:16 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

>> But there seems to be a silent agreement that nobody will notice he
>> has disobeyed orders. Which once again shows that simple obedience and
>> a rigid chain-of-command are not the values of the Rohirric warriors.
>> Since Merry has found a willing ride, his disobedience is quietly
>> overlooked. Which seems fair enough. He had no duties which he
>> abandoned by riding off to war. Unlike somebody else who went along.
>
>But surely Dernhelm was also tacitly allowed to come along by Elfhelm?

Yes, but it isn't clear that Elfhelm knew Dernhelm's actual identity.
Aren't all who learn Eowyn is at the battle surprised? Whereas, Merry
was something of an open secret.

>> Doesn't everyone sing while they slay? It's like whistling while you
>> work.
>
>I hope you are being sarcastic here... :-)
>
>The singing here is an interesting contrast to the silence and cries of
>'Death' we get in the next chapter (sorry, I've been reading ahead).

*That's* when I think it gets creepy. Singing is fine, shouting
"Death" is a sign of gnawing negativity.

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

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 15, 2005, 3:50:46 PM1/15/05
to

A good list, but leaves out Hama and Ugluk, both of whom I'd have high
on my list. The fox, sadly, doesn't get fleshed out enough to qualify.
Old Man Willow is memorable, but he's more obstacle than character.
Saruman and Wormtongue might even be said to qualify. Saruman gets a
lot of mention, but we only actually meet him a few times.

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

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 15, 2005, 3:50:48 PM1/15/05
to
On 11 Jan 2005 00:01:50 +0100, Jens Kilian <j...@acm.org> wrote:

>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> writes:
>> I have trouble believing that the Rohirrim were actually of much
>> danger to the Wild Men in their woods, however. Probably more of a
>> nuisance, scaring the game, rather than much of a real threat. The
>> Woses are ultra-woodscrafty while the Rohirrim are plains-people.
>
>Perhaps the Woses ate horses. That would justify punitive expeditions,
>to the Rohirrim.

Possibly. But I wasn't questioning the motivation of such attacks,
only their practicality.

>Consider:
>- There seems to be a sizable population in Druadan Forest; big enough for
> surviving two Ages of the world without dying off from inbreeding.
>- The Woses seem to live at the hunter-gatherer stage of existence.
>- Hunter-gatherers are usually nomadic, since they have to follow animal
> migrations or change hunting grounds after depleting them. Yet the Woses
> are sessile.

There are many hunter-gatherers who live entirely within forested
areas -- indeed, many h-g cultures surviving into the the 20th century
were so located as such cover gave the longest buffer against more
"progressive" cultures. Massive migrations that are followed by hunter
peoples are largely a plains phenomenon.

In any case, h-g cultures live more by gathering than by hunting.
Hunting is largely a social device to get the men out the way so the
women can get some work done. :-)

Migration is as much to exploit seasonal vegetable food sources as
animal migration. It can be as simple as moving from areas where one
type of plant is dominant to where another plant is, a matter of a
couple of miles, perhaps. I doubt the Woses have permanent settlements
and therefore they are nomadic, but that doesn't mean they cover large
territories. It is possible that they would hunt horses, but large
game generally means long pursuits, either to herd it into a prepared
killing area or, as seems more likely for the Woses, waiting for
poison to bring it down. It seems that this would leave them
vulnerable to angry Rohirrim (who would not be hunting them, but
defending their horses) and this would lead them to find other sources
of game.

However, is it specified that the Woses are hunter-gatherers in any
case? I would suggest that their social structure suggests otherwise.
Ghan appears to represent the Wild Men as a whole. If they actually
have an overall leader for a sustainable population, that would
suggest at least some agricultural base. And perhaps they still
maintain some permanent structures.

What we *do* know is that at least some of the Woses speak Westron,
which makes it likely that there is some trade going on at the border.
The Woses would perhaps trade excess furs with their neighbors and
obtaining food in this manner would involve less risk than attempting
to steal their neighbors most valued possessions. Especially as they
could as easily hunt small game, more easily transported home.

Finally, such a legitimate grievance is unlikely to have gone
unmentioned, as Theoden would hardly have agreed to not defend against
future raids on their horses.

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

Larry Swain

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 1:04:02 AM1/16/05
to

R. Dan Henry wrote:
> On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 22:30:16 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:
>
>
>>>But there seems to be a silent agreement that nobody will notice he
>>>has disobeyed orders. Which once again shows that simple obedience and
>>>a rigid chain-of-command are not the values of the Rohirric warriors.
>>>Since Merry has found a willing ride, his disobedience is quietly
>>>overlooked. Which seems fair enough. He had no duties which he
>>>abandoned by riding off to war. Unlike somebody else who went along.
>>
>>But surely Dernhelm was also tacitly allowed to come along by Elfhelm?
>
>
> Yes, but it isn't clear that Elfhelm knew Dernhelm's actual identity.
> Aren't all who learn Eowyn is at the battle surprised?


But none of those who express surprise are Elfhelm: they are those in
fact that Eowyn specifically wanted to hide her true identity from:
Theoden and his guard, Eomer, etc.


Whereas, Merry
> was something of an open secret.

Certainly harder to hide a second person, even a small one, riding
double on a horse than to hide long hair and curves under armor.

Larry Swain

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 1:07:33 AM1/16/05
to

R. Dan Henry wrote:

> On 11 Jan 2005 00:01:50 +0100, Jens Kilian <j...@acm.org> wrote:
>
>
>>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> writes:
>>
>>>I have trouble believing that the Rohirrim were actually of much
>>>danger to the Wild Men in their woods, however. Probably more of a
>>>nuisance, scaring the game, rather than much of a real threat. The
>>>Woses are ultra-woodscrafty while the Rohirrim are plains-people.
>>
>>Perhaps the Woses ate horses. That would justify punitive expeditions,
>>to the Rohirrim.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the Druadan
Forest is really too far from any Rohirric towns, cities, villages
etc to be of much concern to either party.

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Jan 16, 2005, 1:50:37 PM1/16/05
to
On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 00:04:02 -0600, Larry Swain
<thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>> On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 22:30:16 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
>> <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>>>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

>>>>But there seems to be a silent agreement that nobody will notice he
>>>>has disobeyed orders. Which once again shows that simple obedience and
>>>>a rigid chain-of-command are not the values of the Rohirric warriors.
>>>>Since Merry has found a willing ride, his disobedience is quietly
>>>>overlooked. Which seems fair enough. He had no duties which he
>>>>abandoned by riding off to war. Unlike somebody else who went along.
>>>
>>>But surely Dernhelm was also tacitly allowed to come along by Elfhelm?

>> Yes, but it isn't clear that Elfhelm knew Dernhelm's actual identity.
>> Aren't all who learn Eowyn is at the battle surprised?

>But none of those who express surprise are Elfhelm: they are those in
>fact that Eowyn specifically wanted to hide her true identity from:
>Theoden and his guard, Eomer, etc.

Yes, but there is still no real evidence that Elfhelm knew that
Dernhelm was anything other than a Rohirrim youth who wanted to go to
the war.

>Whereas, Merry
>> was something of an open secret.
>
>Certainly harder to hide a second person, even a small one, riding
>double on a horse than to hide long hair and curves under armor.

Which explains why the two cases are not equivalent.

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

the softrat

unread,
Jan 17, 2005, 7:39:50 PM1/17/05
to
On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 00:07:33 -0600, Larry Swain
<thes...@operamail.com> wrote:
>
>Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the Druadan
>Forest is really too far from any Rohirric towns, cities, villages
>etc to be of much concern to either party.

Yes, but according to UT, the Druedain formerly occupied territory
throughout the White Mountains and across them into Druwaith Iaur.
This extends the Druedain all across the southern border of the
Rohirrim.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
Hige sceal şe heardra, heorte şe cenre,
mod sceal şe mare, şe ure TEUNC lytlağ.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 17, 2005, 7:51:00 PM1/17/05
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote:

<snip>

Nice .sig file!

Hige sceal şe heardra,
heorte şe cenre,
mod sceal şe mare,
şe ure TEUNC lytlağ.

Will shall be the sterner/
Heart the bolder/
Spirit the greater/
As our TEUNC lessens!

ROTFL!

[replace TEUNC with 'maegen' = 'strength']

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
Jan 18, 2005, 11:15:58 AM1/18/05
to
R. Dan Henry wrote:
>
>
> Oh, this should be quoted in full:
> Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden!
> Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
> spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
> a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
> Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

Nice to see that poem in the movie, in full.

This is one of my favorites, too, but out of the next chapter.

Quoting from memory:

Out of doubt, out of dark, to the sun's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking.
Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a red nightfall!

Michelle
Flutist

Christopher Kreuzer

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Jan 18, 2005, 6:59:12 PM1/18/05
to
Michelle J. Haines <mhaine...@enigo.com> wrote:

<snip>

> This is one of my favorites, too, but out of the next chapter.
>
> Quoting from memory:

Nearly right! ;-)

> Out of doubt, out of dark, to the sun's rising
> I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
> To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking.
> Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a red nightfall!

The first line doesn't quite alliterate properly.
Replace sun with a word that alliterates on 'd'...

I'm sorely tempted here to try out my rhythm scheme for this, but I have
not the faintest idea how to communicate that in a text message! It
mostly arises from the natural metre of the poem, with a few strategic
pauses, but mostly a rich pounding rhythm from the alliteration.

Michelle J. Haines

unread,
Jan 19, 2005, 11:06:52 AM1/19/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> The first line doesn't quite alliterate properly.
> Replace sun with a word that alliterates on 'd'...

Oops, if I had reread I would have caught that.

Michelle
Flutist

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