LotR Chapter of the Week: Bk 6 Ch 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"

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R. Dan Henry

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Apr 14, 2005, 4:23:37 AM4/14/05
to
Sorry about the lateness. Tax-wraiths and palantir-troubles caused
delays, I assure you, neither inns nor short-cuts take the blame. I am
guilty, however, of not heeding the words of the Wise. Elrond always
used to say "get it ready well ahead of time and you'll never run
late".

Lord of the Rings
Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"

"Scouring" is a term frequently used to refer to the cleaning of
cookware, such as that Sam had to abandon in Mordor. Is the use of
this kitchen-related term simply happy chance or is Tolkien
deliberately selecting a word that reminds us of the food-centric
world of the average hobbit?

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin continue on alone (except for the
ponies), and find that Gandalf was right about there being a gate
along the road. The Brandywine Bridge is gated at both ends. There is
also new construction, Big Folk-style, not Hobbit-style, and even more
disturbing changes. Merry spots Hob Hayward, whom he knows as a
Bucklander who used to be on the Hay Gate, and this familiar face
helps in getting a few questions answered. The returning hobbits were
thought dead. In their absence, Lotho "Pimple" Sackville-Baggins has
become "Chief" and brought in Big Folk. Merry and Pippin tear down the
sign forbidding night entry, climb and open the gate, and send "the
Chief's Big Man" at the gate -- none other than Bill Ferny -- running
(but not before Bill the Pony kicks him).

There are too many new Rules and shortages brought on by the
"gathering" done by the Big Men. The four returnees share their food
with the gate watchers (which also turns out to break some Rules). By
this time they are sufficiently alarmed they decide to head straight
to Hobbiton and deal with Lotho. Perhaps the worst thing is what Sam
refers to as "orc talk" -- accusations and suspicions among the
hobbits and the snitches who rat out any minor Rule-breaking.

Discussion Question: Prior to the takeover, Hobbits had freely obeyed
"The Rules" handed down by tradition. Are the Chief's new "Rules"
meant to exploit this heritage? In general, is the sudden transition
from utopian near-anarchy to police state handled believably? What
factors in Shire culture would assist or hinder such a transition?

As they travel on they see smoke. Reaching Frogmorton, they are met by
Shirriffs who "arrest" them, but don't dare try to actually do
anything to them. They stay at the Shirriff-house because the inn is
closed. Here it is Sam who knows one of the Shirriffs and learns from
Robin Smallburrow that all the inns are closed, Shirriffs aren't
allowed to quit and many new ones have been drafted, the Quick Post
service has been restricted to the Chief's business, and hobbits have
been imprisoned in the Lockholes (which turn out to be converted
storage tunnels in Michel Delving).

Discussion Question: I recall awhile back some folk suggested Merry
and Pippin wouldn't have been ready to raise the Shire back when
Elrond wanted to send them home. What do you think? While their value
as members of the Fellowship is unquestionable, how would they have
fared if they had been around to deal with "the Chief" much earlier?

The next day, they wait to set out only to annoy the Shirriff-leader,
then run their escort ragged before leaving them behind. Reaching
Bywater they find homes burnt out or abandoned, replaced with ugly new
houses. Trees have been removed and there is a smoking chimney up
towards Bag End. Nobody comes out to see these odd hobbits, which is
explained by a group of Men whose squint-eyes and sallow faces remind
Sam of Ferny's friend in Bree and Merry of Men he saw in Isengard.
They are armed with clubs and speak of a new leader, "Sharkey", who
has come to run things. Frodo does most of the speaking here, although
it is more often Merry back in the leader role now. Pippin reveals
himself as a soldier of Gondor and Merry and Sam join him in scaring
off these ruffians with their swords. Frodo points out the obvious,
that Lotho is not responsible for most of what is going on, but has
become a victim of his own wickedness. Frodo begins his main role in
the Scouring, as the one who tries to minimize the violence. Merry
knows there will have to be some fighting, though, and that they need
to move quickly to raise the Shire. Sam heads to the Cottons' farm and
Merry blows his horn to get things started, playing the Horn-cry of
Buckland, last heard in "A Knife in the Dark".

Farmer Cotton and his boys are armed and ready for trouble. They're
glad to see Sam and glad to hear that there's going to be a resistance
organized at last. Cotton appears to have attempted to get something
started himself, but had no luck. Sam also spends some time to pay his
respects to Mrs. and Rosie Cotton.

Discussion Question: Do we learn anything from Tolkien's portrayal of
Sam and Rosie Cotton in this chapter? Does it make the later marriage
of these two more natural-seeming? Is there any comparison to the
Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?

Sam returns to find a force of hobbits gathered, armed with axes,
hammers, long knives, staves, and hunting bows. Already more than a
hundred strong they are, with more still coming in. Merry is arranging
defensive barriers. When Shirriffs come up, some slink away, but most
defect to the resistance. Farmer Cotton provides intelligence on the
current situation, the most interesting perhaps being that the Tooks
hold Tookland free, having defensible territory and enough iron in
their spines to start shooting when the ruffians tried to bother them.
The border has effectively been sealed on both sides, but Pippin
proposes that he should get into Tookland and takes off with a small
escort. Merry plans the defeat of the Hobbiton force of Big Men,
taking advantage of their overconfidence to surround them. The leader
has to be shot dead before the rest surrender.

Discussion Question: Saruman doesn't seem to have equipped his men
very well at all, nor provided even basic tactical training. Was he
even interested in holding the Shire once the Fellowship hobbits
returned?

Sam's worried about old Gaffer Gamgee and Cotton tells him that the
old man's doing okay, with a bit of help from the Cottons, but Bagshot
Row was dug up and he's unhappy about that. Sam fetches Old Gamgee who
inquires about Sam's performance. Frodo's praise satisfies the elder
Gamgee, embarrasses the younger one, and gets Rosie's attention. The
gaffer offers a compliment of sorts to Sam, "I don't hold with wearing
ironmongery, whether it wears well or no." While they were waiting for
the Gamgees, there was more exposition. Lotho, aka Pimple, was greedy
and bossy and was buying up Shire properties with mysterious funding.
He was also exporting, first pipe-weed, then other goods. When this
led to shortages, folk started getting angry, which is when the
ruffians came in. Then they started with arrests, locking up first
Will Whitfoot, the Mayor, the closest thing to a Shire government.
Pimple became Chief Shirriff or just "Chief", and started establishing
the Shire's new police state. Since Sharkey showed up, things have
been worse. "There's no longer even bad sense in it. They cut down
trees and let 'em lie, they burn houses and build no more." Sandyman's
mill has been replaced by a bigger and more mechanized one that is
doing less work; Ted is reduced to working for the Men, but too
clueless to see he's a loser on the deal. They're getting the
pollution of industrialization without the productivity. We also learn
Lobelia S-B has been locked up for attacking the ruffians with her
umbrella.

Discussion Question: Is Saruman, having failed to imitate Sauron, now
walking Morgoth's path to nihilism? Or is the pointless destruction
just a symptom of a desire for specific revenge? Does Saruman offer an
example of an evil "type" distinct from the Sauronic and Morgothian
varieties?

Bonus Question: It seems a rather large amount of material was
shipping out of the Shire. How important was the Shire to Saruman's
war effort? What alternative source, if any, were there to secure
supplies for his forces?

By morning, the message comes that the Thain has raised an army of
Tooks. Pippin is coming back with a force, while the Thain takes his
main force into the south (where the Thain and his Tooks do most of
what fighting isn't done in the Hobbiton-Bywater area, handling the
large Southfarthing contingent of Men). Meanwhile, more Men are coming
and burning as they come, but the Tooks arrive first. Merry plans his
ambush. Blocking the Men in with wagons in a section of road lined
with hedge-topped high banks, the hobbits surround the Men before they
realize they are there. Merry demands surrender, but the Men choose to
fight. Thus begins the Battle of Bywater. Most of the Men are killed
and also 19 hobbits. It is the last battle fought in the Shire.

"In consequence, though it happily cost very few lives, it has a
chapter to itself in the Red Book, and the names of all those who took
part were made into a Roll, and learned by heart by Shire-historians.
The very considerable rise in the fame and fortune of the Cottons
dates from this time; but at the top of the Roll in all accounts stand
the names of Captains Meriadoc and Peregrin."

Frodo again worked as a peace-maker, preventing killing of those who
surrendered, never drawing his blade.

Discussion Question: Samwise Gamgee is, unlike Frodo, active in the
military exploits of the Scouring, but he is not one of the main
leaders like Merry or Pippin or the Thain. Even Farmer Cotton might be
considered a bit more prominent, although Sam's war-gear probably drew
him some extra attention. Did this secondary position in the list of
war heroes help or hinder his political career? If you were running
Sam's election campaign, would you play the war-hero card or strictly
focus on his agricultural feats?

Frodo sets out with Sam, Merry, Pippin, Farmer Cotton, and a small
guard to deal with the "Chief". They pass through beloved places,
seeing them in ruin. Sam is moved to tears when he sees the Party Tree
has been felled and simply left to lie. Ted Sandyman shoots his mouth
off, then blows a horn when he sees how many there are. Merry blows
his own horn and the Hobbits of Hobbiton come out and join them. Bag
End is so in ruin it seems it might be abandoned.

Not finding Lotho, they are greeted by Saruman, whom Frodo realizes
must be "Sharkey" (derived from Orkish sharkū, "old man", according to
the footnote). He is rather pathetic, spiteful, bitter, petty. Frodo
does not allow killing him, even after Saruman's attempt to kill Frodo
is foiled by the mithril coat. "He was great once, or a noble kind
that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and
his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that
he may find it." Saruman pouts because Frodo's wisdom robs his
vengeance of sweetness. He does retain enough of his own wisdom to
recognize that Frodo has wounds that will not heal -- he foretells
that Frodo will have neither health nor long life.

Wormtongue (whom Saruman has taken to just calling "Worm") is also
there, a crawling wretch, almost an animal. He is offered comfort by
Frodo and seems to be considering accepting mercy, when Saruman
interrupts to reveal that Wormtongue killed (and possibly ate,
although that could just be nasty innuendo by Saruman) Lotho. The Worm
finally turns (now you know where that expression originated :-) and
kills Saruman with a knife. He is himself shot dead by hobbits before
Frodo can intervene. Saruman rises like a smoke in death, a feeble
imitation of Sauron once more, and is blown away by a wind out of the
West. His body shrivels up and Frodo covers the skull with the
remnants of Saruman's cloak. The hobbits are glad it is over, but Sam
declares he can't consider it over until the damage is repaired.

A few final questions:

Do you think Wormtongue ate Lotho? Or it Spinmaster Saruman trying to
make Worm look even worse than he is?

What do you find the most disturbing change in the Shire? Why?

Did Lotho deserve was he got?

If there had been any Entwives near the Shire, wouldn't Saruman have
received the same treatment twice?

Where are the Rangers? Those that could quickly be gathered went
south, but surely that means there were others out ranging. Couldn't a
handful of Rangers have freed the Shire?

What would Saruman have done if he'd lived?

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

Michele Fry

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Apr 14, 2005, 2:49:18 PM4/14/05
to
In article <33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com>, R. Dan Henry
<danh...@inreach.com> writes

<snipping the bits I have no comments about - though a good summary Dan>

>As they travel on they see smoke. Reaching Frogmorton, they are met by
>Shirriffs who "arrest" them, but don't dare try to actually do
>anything to them. They stay at the Shirriff-house because the inn is
>closed. Here it is Sam who knows one of the Shirriffs and learns from
>Robin Smallburrow that all the inns are closed, Shirriffs aren't
>allowed to quit and many new ones have been drafted, the Quick Post
>service has been restricted to the Chief's business, and hobbits have
>been imprisoned in the Lockholes (which turn out to be converted
>storage tunnels in Michel Delving).
>
>Discussion Question: I recall awhile back some folk suggested Merry
>and Pippin wouldn't have been ready to raise the Shire back when
>Elrond wanted to send them home. What do you think? While their value
>as members of the Fellowship is unquestionable, how would they have
>fared if they had been around to deal with "the Chief" much earlier?

No. I think they had to have experienced the things they experienced, in
particular the hideous Orc-march, before they could deal with the
situation, otherwise they'd just have been caught up in the situation.
They needed the maturity that the experiences they'd had gave them, to
deal with the situation...

>
>Sam returns to find a force of hobbits gathered, armed with axes,
>hammers, long knives, staves, and hunting bows. Already more than a
>hundred strong they are, with more still coming in. Merry is arranging
>defensive barriers. When Shirriffs come up, some slink away, but most
>defect to the resistance. Farmer Cotton provides intelligence on the
>current situation, the most interesting perhaps being that the Tooks
>hold Tookland free, having defensible territory and enough iron in
>their spines to start shooting when the ruffians tried to bother them.
>The border has effectively been sealed on both sides, but Pippin
>proposes that he should get into Tookland and takes off with a small
>escort. Merry plans the defeat of the Hobbiton force of Big Men,
>taking advantage of their overconfidence to surround them. The leader
>has to be shot dead before the rest surrender.
>
>Discussion Question: Saruman doesn't seem to have equipped his men
>very well at all, nor provided even basic tactical training. Was he
>even interested in holding the Shire once the Fellowship hobbits
>returned?

I think it's more a case of he simply didn't believe that the Fellowship
hobbits had matured enough to be able to deal with his men - I think he
still thought of them with the same contempt he showed them when they
met him on their journey back to the Shire. He seemed to think they were
merely children aping their betters and acting lordly, rather than
mature individuals who had learnt from their painful experiences. His
comment (and the narrator's) to Frodo, when Frodo refuses to allow him
to be killed, makes this clear, I feel: "Saruman rose to his feet, and
stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder
and respect and hatred. 'You have grown, Halfling,' he said. 'Yes, you
have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my
revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to
your mercy. I hate it and you!'"

This is in quite stark contrast to: "You made me laugh, you hobbit-
lordlings, riding along with all those great people, so secure and so
pleased with your little selves." when they first encounter Saruman in
the Shire, and "So you have come to gloat too, have you, my urchins ?"
(From "Many Partings")

>What do you find the most disturbing change in the Shire? Why?

The loss of the trees, because they are so integral to Tolkien's
landscapes.

>If there had been any Entwives near the Shire, wouldn't Saruman have
>received the same treatment twice?

Probably !!

>Where are the Rangers? Those that could quickly be gathered went
>south, but surely that means there were others out ranging. Couldn't a
>handful of Rangers have freed the Shire?

Maybe, but maybe, in their wisdom, they left the Shire alone, knowing
that the Hobbits had to learn to look after themselves, like everyone
else does... Or maybe they were too busy elsewhere...

Michele
==
Leisure without literature is death, or rather the burial of a living
[person].
- Seneca
==
Now reading: The Road to Middle-earth - Tom Shippey
The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Quartet - Douglas Adams

Huan the hound

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Apr 14, 2005, 8:49:32 PM4/14/05
to
On 2005-04-14, R Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in <33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com>:

[snip]


> Farmer Cotton and his boys are armed and ready for trouble. They're
> glad to see Sam and glad to hear that there's going to be a resistance
> organized at last. Cotton appears to have attempted to get something
> started himself, but had no luck. Sam also spends some time to pay his
> respects to Mrs. and Rosie Cotton.
>
> Discussion Question: Do we learn anything from Tolkien's portrayal of
> Sam and Rosie Cotton in this chapter? Does it make the later marriage
> of these two more natural-seeming? Is there any comparison to the
> Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?

Perhaps I shouldn't admit this, but he Cotton family reminds me of the
Dukes of Hazzard.

[snip]


> Discussion Question: Is Saruman, having failed to imitate Sauron, now
> walking Morgoth's path to nihilism? Or is the pointless destruction
> just a symptom of a desire for specific revenge? Does Saruman offer an
> example of an evil "type" distinct from the Sauronic and Morgothian
> varieties?

It still seems to come down to an obsession with controlling things.

[snip]


> Wormtongue (whom Saruman has taken to just calling "Worm") is also
> there, a crawling wretch, almost an animal. He is offered comfort by
> Frodo and seems to be considering accepting mercy, when Saruman
> interrupts to reveal that Wormtongue killed (and possibly ate,
> although that could just be nasty innuendo by Saruman) Lotho. The Worm
> finally turns (now you know where that expression originated :-) and

[snip]


>
> Do you think Wormtongue ate Lotho? Or it Spinmaster Saruman trying to
> make Worm look even worse than he is?
>

I really don't understand the change in Wormtongue (to Worm). Saruman's
change doesn't bother me, but why did the former counsellor of Theoden
begin crawling?

--
Huan, the hound of Valinor

Matthew Bladen

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Apr 14, 2005, 9:02:53 PM4/14/05
to
In article <wcE7e.5814$303....@fe05.lga>, huanth...@netscape.net
says...

> I really don't understand the change in Wormtongue (to Worm). Saruman's
> change doesn't bother me, but why did the former counsellor of Theoden
> begin crawling?

I'm reminded of what Theoden said to Wormtongue after Gandalf healed
him. The exact quote escapes me, but the gist of it is "ere long your
leechcraft would have had me walking on all fours like a dog." Those
subjected to the whispered poisons of Saruman are eventually reduced to
shameful dependency and lose their free will and dignity, and what
Wormtongue could do, Saruman could do with even more unpleasant results.

Is it Gandalf who said of the pair locked in Orthanc, "they will gnaw
one another with words"? Saruman had no-one else left to dominate, and
clearly took his frustration and spitefulness out on Wormtongue -
imagine that Voice telling you that you're a worm, a useless failure,
etc. for months on end. (Remember the "What is the House of Eorl" bit
from The Voice of Saruman, and think of having that level of invective
directed at you for months with no way of escape)
--
Matthew

Henriette

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Apr 15, 2005, 4:03:23 AM4/15/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message news:

> "Scouring" is a term frequently used to refer to the cleaning of
> cookware, such as that Sam had to abandon in Mordor. Is the use of
> this kitchen-related term simply happy chance or is Tolkien
> deliberately selecting a word that reminds us of the food-centric
> world of the average hobbit?

According to my inherited old dictionary, apart from the 'cleaning of
cookware', scouring in 'scouring the sea' also means cleaning it
(chasing away pirates), but scouring a region means wandering about in
it... I think the alliteration played a big part in JRRT's chosing the
word 'scouring'.
>
> Discussion Question: (snip) Is there any comparison to the
> Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?
>
I would rather compare the Aragorn-Arwen courtship to the
Tamino-Pamina courtship in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
and Sam-Rosie's to Papageno-Papagena's.

Rosie's words: "Well, be off with you! If you've been looking after
Mr. Frodo all this while, what d'you want to leave him for, as soon as
things look dangerous?" must be amongst the most unjust in the all of
the LOTR.

> If you were running
> Sam's election campaign, would you play the war-hero card or strictly
> focus on his agricultural feats?
>

LOL!

> Saruman rises like a smoke in death, a feeble
> imitation of Sauron once more, and is blown away by a wind out of the
> West.

That is not how I read it. "For a moment it wavered, looking to the
West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away(...)".
The West sort of refused the "pale shrouded figure". Did it also blow
it away, or did it bent away itself? I think the latter.

> What do you find the most disturbing change in the Shire? Why?

I am very impressed by this piece of prose, in which JRRT has several
things to say to us, which are still important in this day and age:

"Take Sandyman's mill now. Pimple knocked it down "Take Sandyman's
mill, now. Pimple knocked it down almost as soon as he came to Bag
End. Then he brought in a lot o' dirty-looking Men to build a bigger
one and fill it full o' wheels
and outlandish contraptions. Only that fool Ted was pleased by that,
and he works there cleaning wheels for the Men, where his dad was the
Miller and his own master. Pimple's idea was to grind more and faster,
or so he said. He's got other mills like it. But you've got to have
grist before you can grind; and there was no more for the new mill to
do than for the old. But since Sharkey came they don't grind no more
corn at all. They're always a-hammering and a-letting out a smoke and
a stench, and there isn't no peace even at night in Hobbiton."

So far for my favourite chapter of LOTR which I know some posters
think might just as well have been skipped. Peter Jackson could not be
bothered either.

Henriette

Henriette

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Apr 15, 2005, 4:06:17 AM4/15/05
to

Nice analysis!

Henriette

Derek Broughton

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Apr 15, 2005, 9:09:35 AM4/15/05
to
Huan the hound wrote:

> On 2005-04-14, R Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in
> <33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com>:
>
> [snip]
>> Farmer Cotton and his boys are armed and ready for trouble. They're
>> glad to see Sam and glad to hear that there's going to be a resistance
>> organized at last. Cotton appears to have attempted to get something
>> started himself, but had no luck. Sam also spends some time to pay his
>> respects to Mrs. and Rosie Cotton.
>>
>> Discussion Question: Do we learn anything from Tolkien's portrayal of
>> Sam and Rosie Cotton in this chapter? Does it make the later marriage
>> of these two more natural-seeming? Is there any comparison to the
>> Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?
>
> Perhaps I shouldn't admit this, but he Cotton family reminds me of the
> Dukes of Hazzard.

But taller. :-) Why else would Daisy have been given a hobbit name? Why
was Boss Hogg named "Boss"? Clearly a derivative work.
--
derek

aelfwina

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Apr 16, 2005, 9:44:26 AM4/16/05
to

"R. Dan Henry" <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message
news:33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com...

> Sorry about the lateness. Tax-wraiths and palantir-troubles caused
> delays, I assure you, neither inns nor short-cuts take the blame. I am
> guilty, however, of not heeding the words of the Wise. Elrond always
> used to say "get it ready well ahead of time and you'll never run
> late".
>
> Lord of the Rings
> Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"
>
> "Scouring" is a term frequently used to refer to the cleaning of
> cookware, such as that Sam had to abandon in Mordor. Is the use of
> this kitchen-related term simply happy chance or is Tolkien
> deliberately selecting a word that reminds us of the food-centric
> world of the average hobbit?

"Scouring" used as in scrubbing pots of course would make it a hobbity
metaphor, but it is also used of any intense cleansing and scrubbing of
encrusted dirt.. It is sometimes used for the deep cleansing of infected
wounds, for example.


>
> Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin continue on alone (except for the
> ponies), and find that Gandalf was right about there being a gate
> along the road. The Brandywine Bridge is gated at both ends. There is
> also new construction, Big Folk-style, not Hobbit-style, and even more
> disturbing changes. Merry spots Hob Hayward, whom he knows as a
> Bucklander who used to be on the Hay Gate, and this familiar face
> helps in getting a few questions answered. The returning hobbits were
> thought dead. In their absence, Lotho "Pimple" Sackville-Baggins has
> become "Chief" and brought in Big Folk. Merry and Pippin tear down the
> sign forbidding night entry, climb and open the gate, and send "the
> Chief's Big Man" at the gate -- none other than Bill Ferny -- running
> (but not before Bill the Pony kicks him).

I do like this bit. Sam, as well as Merry and Pippin, have this whole "what
now?" attitude, that rather smacks of annoyance and weariness, and not at
all to taking these supposed authorities in any way seriously, and lends
itself to a bit of sarcasm. And Bill the Pony's last farewell to his former
master always brings a smile to my face.

>
> There are too many new Rules and shortages brought on by the
> "gathering" done by the Big Men. The four returnees share their food
> with the gate watchers (which also turns out to break some Rules). By
> this time they are sufficiently alarmed they decide to head straight
> to Hobbiton and deal with Lotho. Perhaps the worst thing is what Sam
> refers to as "orc talk" -- accusations and suspicions among the
> hobbits and the snitches who rat out any minor Rule-breaking.
>
> Discussion Question: Prior to the takeover, Hobbits had freely obeyed
> "The Rules" handed down by tradition. Are the Chief's new "Rules"
> meant to exploit this heritage? In general, is the sudden transition
> from utopian near-anarchy to police state handled believably? What
> factors in Shire culture would assist or hinder such a transition?

I think in the beginning, the fact that, as you said, hobbits had a
tradition of being a naturally law-abiding folk meant they were slow to
realize what was happening. Once their natural leaders, such as the Mayor,
the Thain and the Master were cut off from communication, there would have
been a period of confusion from hobbits who did not know whom to turn to.
Once the Ruffians came in, a bit of extortion in the form of threats to harm
family members would have kept most hobbits in line. That last factor would
definitely help the new "Chief", as hobbits are so family oriented and
clannish. On the other hand, we see a good bit of how there was some less
obvious resistance: the way the Cottons had helped the Gaffer, for example,
as well as enough out-and-out resistance to make the Lockholes necessary.
Most hobbits would probably not wish to stand by and see other hobbits
starve, for example.

>
> As they travel on they see smoke. Reaching Frogmorton, they are met by
> Shirriffs who "arrest" them, but don't dare try to actually do
> anything to them. They stay at the Shirriff-house because the inn is
> closed. Here it is Sam who knows one of the Shirriffs and learns from
> Robin Smallburrow that all the inns are closed, Shirriffs aren't
> allowed to quit and many new ones have been drafted, the Quick Post
> service has been restricted to the Chief's business, and hobbits have
> been imprisoned in the Lockholes (which turn out to be converted
> storage tunnels in Michel Delving).

I find Robin to be another of JRRT's minor masterpieces. We learn so much
about his character in such a brief acquaintance: he is a friend of Sam,
gregarious, likes to travel about the Shire, and does not care for the
situation he finds himself in, but needs someone else's encouragement and
example to try and get out of it.


>
> Discussion Question: I recall awhile back some folk suggested Merry
> and Pippin wouldn't have been ready to raise the Shire back when
> Elrond wanted to send them home. What do you think? While their value
> as members of the Fellowship is unquestionable, how would they have
> fared if they had been around to deal with "the Chief" much earlier?

I think if they had been sent home from Rivendell, they would at best have
suffered Fatty's fate and ended up in the Lockholes, and at worst would have
been killed. They simply did not have either the experience or the
confidence to deal with Men at that point in time.
On the other hand, I do not doubt that their brief experiences between the
Old Forest and Rivendell would have made them at least *try*, as ill-fated
as that might have turned out.


>
> The next day, they wait to set out only to annoy the Shirriff-leader,
> then run their escort ragged before leaving them behind.


This is another bit I love: the image of the Travellers taking their ease
upon their ponies, and making the footsore Shirriffs have to keep up with
them.

Reaching
> Bywater they find homes burnt out or abandoned, replaced with ugly new
> houses. Trees have been removed and there is a smoking chimney up
> towards Bag End.

The first time I read this, I was outraged. How could JRRT have *done* that
to the *Shire*!

Nobody comes out to see these odd hobbits, which is
> explained by a group of Men whose squint-eyes and sallow faces remind
> Sam of Ferny's friend in Bree and Merry of Men he saw in Isengard.
> They are armed with clubs and speak of a new leader, "Sharkey", who
> has come to run things. Frodo does most of the speaking here, although
> it is more often Merry back in the leader role now. Pippin reveals
> himself as a soldier of Gondor

The moment when Pippin's righteous anger causes him to draw a sword and
defend Frodo's honor always thrills me. He is here being a Knight in
shining armor, brave, gallant, determined and fearless. You can just *see*
his love for and pride in, his cousin blazing forth!

and Merry and Sam join him in scaring
> off these ruffians with their swords. Frodo points out the obvious,
> that Lotho is not responsible for most of what is going on, but has
> become a victim of his own wickedness. Frodo begins his main role in
> the Scouring, as the one who tries to minimize the violence.
Merry
> knows there will have to be some fighting, though, and that they need
> to move quickly to raise the Shire. Sam heads to the Cottons' farm and
> Merry blows his horn to get things started, playing the Horn-cry of
> Buckland, last heard in "A Knife in the Dark".

And the Horn-call of Buckland never sounded so clearly or compellingly as
when blown by Holdwine of the Mark on the silver horn of Rohan! Yay, Merry!

>
> Farmer Cotton and his boys are armed and ready for trouble. They're
> glad to see Sam and glad to hear that there's going to be a resistance
> organized at last. Cotton appears to have attempted to get something
> started himself, but had no luck. Sam also spends some time to pay his
> respects to Mrs. and Rosie Cotton.
>
> Discussion Question: Do we learn anything from Tolkien's portrayal of
> Sam and Rosie Cotton in this chapter? Does it make the later marriage
> of these two more natural-seeming? Is there any comparison to the
> Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?

I think that he makes it clear that Rosie has been waiting for her Sam to
return. I love her very hobbity answer to Sam, and the bit about "It needed
a weeks answer or none" is wonderful. I think in many ways it was more like
Aragorn/Arwen, for Rose was waiting for Sam to return after fulfilling his
destiny.


>
> Sam returns to find a force of hobbits gathered, armed with axes,
> hammers, long knives, staves, and hunting bows. Already more than a
> hundred strong they are, with more still coming in. Merry is arranging
> defensive barriers. When Shirriffs come up, some slink away, but most
> defect to the resistance. Farmer Cotton provides intelligence on the
> current situation, the most interesting perhaps being that the Tooks
> hold Tookland free, having defensible territory and enough iron in
> their spines to start shooting when the ruffians tried to bother them.
> The border has effectively been sealed on both sides, but Pippin
> proposes that he should get into Tookland and takes off with a small
> escort.

I wish JRRT had showed us Pippin's arrival in Tookland, and his father's
reaction! (Oh well, that's what gap-fillers are for...)


Merry plans the defeat of the Hobbiton force of Big Men,
> taking advantage of their overconfidence to surround them. The leader
> has to be shot dead before the rest surrender.
>
> Discussion Question: Saruman doesn't seem to have equipped his men
> very well at all, nor provided even basic tactical training. Was he
> even interested in holding the Shire once the Fellowship hobbits
> returned?

I think Saruman had basically sent the bottom of the barrel to deal with the
Shire, back when he was still in charge of things at Isengard. Then it was
not important for anything more than keeping some of the supplies flowing
and aggravating Gandalf. When he was defeated, and turned his thoughts to
revenge, he was no longer in possession of the means to equip them better,
or to send more experienced fighters. He'd lost all his warriors to Helm's
Deep and to the Huorns.
I do think he had planned to leave the Shire, and leave it in ruins, before
Gandalf had a chance to catch up with him. He never did truly understand
Gandalf or his relationship with hobbits and the Shire.

>
> Sam's worried about old Gaffer Gamgee and Cotton tells him that the
> old man's doing okay, with a bit of help from the Cottons, but Bagshot
> Row was dug up and he's unhappy about that. Sam fetches Old Gamgee who
> inquires about Sam's performance. Frodo's praise satisfies the elder
> Gamgee, embarrasses the younger one, and gets Rosie's attention. The
> gaffer offers a compliment of sorts to Sam, "I don't hold with wearing
> ironmongery, whether it wears well or no."

LOL! I always loved the way the Gaffer just kind of missed the point.

While they were waiting for
> the Gamgees, there was more exposition. Lotho, aka Pimple, was greedy
> and bossy and was buying up Shire properties with mysterious funding.
> He was also exporting, first pipe-weed, then other goods. When this
> led to shortages, folk started getting angry, which is when the
> ruffians came in. Then they started with arrests, locking up first
> Will Whitfoot, the Mayor, the closest thing to a Shire government.
> Pimple became Chief Shirriff or just "Chief", and started establishing
> the Shire's new police state. Since Sharkey showed up, things have
> been worse. "There's no longer even bad sense in it. They cut down
> trees and let 'em lie, they burn houses and build no more." Sandyman's
> mill has been replaced by a bigger and more mechanized one that is
> doing less work; Ted is reduced to working for the Men, but too
> clueless to see he's a loser on the deal. They're getting the
> pollution of industrialization without the productivity. We also learn
> Lobelia S-B has been locked up for attacking the ruffians with her
> umbrella.
>
> Discussion Question: Is Saruman, having failed to imitate Sauron, now
> walking Morgoth's path to nihilism? Or is the pointless destruction
> just a symptom of a desire for specific revenge? Does Saruman offer an
> example of an evil "type" distinct from the Sauronic and Morgothian
> varieties?

I think he is more driven here by revenge and anger. As far as "type" goes,
I think he is one step lower on the ladder--Morgoth fell from the highest
plane to the lowest; Sauron, who was under Morgoth, had not so far to fall,
and so was less powerful--though no less evil; Saruman had even less
distance to fall, and his power was even less, and here he is driven by the
pettiest of motives, spite and malice.

>
> Bonus Question: It seems a rather large amount of material was
> shipping out of the Shire. How important was the Shire to Saruman's
> war effort? What alternative source, if any, were there to secure
> supplies for his forces?

Well, obviously it was his source of pipe-weed, LOL! And with the sparcity
of population in the intervening lands, it very well might have been
important--we certainly don't hear of his getting very much from the
Dunlendings.


>
> By morning, the message comes that the Thain has raised an army of
> Tooks. Pippin is coming back with a force, while the Thain takes his
> main force into the south (where the Thain and his Tooks do most of
> what fighting isn't done in the Hobbiton-Bywater area, handling the
> large Southfarthing contingent of Men). Meanwhile, more Men are coming
> and burning as they come, but the Tooks arrive first. Merry plans his
> ambush. Blocking the Men in with wagons in a section of road lined
> with hedge-topped high banks, the hobbits surround the Men before they
> realize they are there. Merry demands surrender, but the Men choose to
> fight. Thus begins the Battle of Bywater. Most of the Men are killed
> and also 19 hobbits. It is the last battle fought in the Shire.

It is clear here that once again Merry's habit of intelligent observation
has stood him in good stead. He obviously paid a lot of attention to some
of the strategies he saw during the War. (I can imagine him attending
Theoden while he and Aragorn are discussing the assault on Minas Tirith, for
example, his hobbit ears wide open.)


>
> "In consequence, though it happily cost very few lives, it has a
> chapter to itself in the Red Book, and the names of all those who took
> part were made into a Roll, and learned by heart by Shire-historians.
> The very considerable rise in the fame and fortune of the Cottons
> dates from this time; but at the top of the Roll in all accounts stand
> the names of Captains Meriadoc and Peregrin."

Since the Shire has very little idea of military history, I wonder who
thought to dub them "Captains"?

>
> Frodo again worked as a peace-maker, preventing killing of those who
> surrendered, never drawing his blade.
>
> Discussion Question: Samwise Gamgee is, unlike Frodo, active in the
> military exploits of the Scouring, but he is not one of the main
> leaders like Merry or Pippin or the Thain. Even Farmer Cotton might be
> considered a bit more prominent, although Sam's war-gear probably drew
> him some extra attention. Did this secondary position in the list of
> war heroes help or hinder his political career? If you were running
> Sam's election campaign, would you play the war-hero card or strictly
> focus on his agricultural feats?

I don't imagine it was one or the other. Most of the hobbits knew the
Travellers drove out the Ruffians. Frodo's lack of participation probably
was not that noticed by anyone but those close to him. His lack of
recognition was due to his own reticence, and his wish to hide and withdraw.
I am sure Sam's work at greening the Shire simply blended in with his role
in helping with the Scouring as well.
And my impression of hobbit society makes me thing that politics were
handled a bit differently.


>
> Frodo sets out with Sam, Merry, Pippin, Farmer Cotton, and a small
> guard to deal with the "Chief". They pass through beloved places,
> seeing them in ruin. Sam is moved to tears when he sees the Party Tree
> has been felled and simply left to lie.

So was I.

The latter. Saruman never stopped lying, or trying to use what was left of
his Voice.


>
> What do you find the most disturbing change in the Shire? Why?

Well, the trees, definitely, and the tearing up of Bagshot Row, both of
which just devastated me, at the idea that things would never be the same.
But something which I began to find more sinister in my later readings was
the closing down and destruction of the inns. In a society with no
newspapers and no religious institutions such as churches, the inns served
as the natural place to gather, socialize and exchange news and gossip.
Closing them down is rather similar to modern day coups where the newspapers
and TV stations are taken over or shut down.


>
> Did Lotho deserve was he got?

Everything he got and then some. I always felt a bit cheated that he got
his "off-stage" so to speak. In some ways, Lotho was even worse than
Sauron. He was not influenced by the Ring, he was just a nasty, greedy,
petty, spiteful, power-hungry wretch who did not deserve to be a hobbit. He
was unhobbity, which is an aberration of nature. ( I don't like Lotho, can
you tell? *grin*)


>
> If there had been any Entwives near the Shire, wouldn't Saruman have
> received the same treatment twice?

Oh, that would have been fun!


>
> Where are the Rangers? Those that could quickly be gathered went
> south, but surely that means there were others out ranging. Couldn't a
> handful of Rangers have freed the Shire?

I don't think there were even a handful left anywhere near. Remember that
not only were many of them sent south, but a bunch were killed at Sarn Ford
by the Nazgul. They weren't a numerous group to begin with.


>
> What would Saruman have done if he'd lived?

If he'd repented? Possibly been set to some task by the Valar to redeem
himself. If he had just gone off after the Scouring without Wormtongue
murdering him, he would have wandered about making trouble wherever he went.

One thing I've always believed: when he said "Do not expect me to wish you
health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing, I
merely foretell" he was using his Voice, and basically cursing Frodo. In
other words, he was lying again, and if Frodo had been a little bit more
cynical he would have realized this.

One thing I'd like to say about this chapter: Although it now is one of my
favorites, the first time I read it, I was outraged, I *hated* it, that JRRT
had allowed the Shire to be defiled, all the while that our lads were out
there thinking they had saved it, and had it to come home to. It took a few
readings before I was able to appreciate it as the inevitablitly that it
was. But that initial reaction of mine was enough to make me understand
when I learned PJ was leaving it out of the films.
Barbara
>
> R. Dan Henry
> danh...@inreach.com


John Whistler

unread,
Apr 17, 2005, 1:43:21 PM4/17/05
to
In article <be50318e.05041...@posting.google.com>, Henriette
<held...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Rosie's words: "Well, be off with you! If you've been looking after
> Mr. Frodo all this while, what d'you want to leave him for, as soon as
> things look dangerous?" must be amongst the most unjust in the all of
> the LOTR.
>

> Henriette

I wouldn't say "unjust". It's more Tolkien's way of showing the
hobbits' parochial view of the world, similar to the piece in the
previous chapter, where the Bree hobbits inquire about Frodo's book;
"He promised to deal with the amazing events at Bree, and so give a bit
of interest to a book that appeared likely to treat mostly of the
remote and less important affairs 'away south'."

John.

Steuard Jensen

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 12:44:55 PM4/18/05
to
Quoth R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> in article
<33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com>:

> Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"

First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like
nothing but a minor hiccup after all that has gone before. (I got a
lot of questions and comments like this when the movies came out, for
instance.) So how does everyone else here respond to those issues?
Is the Scouring of the Shire out of place in the book?

> Discussion Question: Do we learn anything from Tolkien's portrayal
> of Sam and Rosie Cotton in this chapter? Does it make the later
> marriage of these two more natural-seeming? Is there any comparison
> to the Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?

I always wished that the Sam-Rosie connection had been built up more
before the hobbits return to the Shire. As far as I recall, she's
only mentioned by name once before that, when Sam thinks back to
playing in Bywater pond, and his fondness for her in particular is
really only apparent in retrospect. And the previous reference to
her, Sam's comments about what Galadriel offered him in Lorien, is
even more subtle: when describing his own prospective hobbit hole, I'm
pretty convinced that he substituted "with a little patch of garden of
my own" for "with Rosie Cotton". But again, you'd only pick up on
that if you'd read the book all the way through before.

My question, then, is why Tolkien "surprised us" with Rosie as he did.
Was it just that he didn't come up with Sam's love interest until he
was nearly finished writing the book, or did he refrain from
mentioning her earlier for a reason? (I'm sure that a careful
re-reading of the "HoLotR" books would shed some light on this, but I
don't know that even that would answer it completely.)

> Discussion Question: Saruman doesn't seem to have equipped his men
> very well at all, nor provided even basic tactical training. Was he
> even interested in holding the Shire once the Fellowship hobbits
> returned?

I agree with the others who suggested that Sauron's men in the Shire
weren't precisely his elite troops: if they'd shown promise as
military men, they would have been kept for the assault on Rohan. But
on the other hand, I don't think that Saruman would have expected that
four hobbits would have made much of a difference, even if they'd all
become valiant warrior heroes. (Was he even aware that two of them
_had_ taken part in major battles?) I suspect that like pretty much
everyone else except Gandalf, he completely underestimated the
strength hidden within hobbits in general; the notion of a Shire-wide
uprising against his men was probably very difficult for him to
imagine.

> Bonus Question: It seems a rather large amount of material was
> shipping out of the Shire. How important was the Shire to Saruman's
> war effort?

I don't have a good answer, but that's a very interesting question. I
don't think I'd really considered it before.

> Did Lotho deserve was he got?

I don't think that Frodo thought so. And I don't, either. Greed and
recklessness are bad, but I don't think they merit death.

> If there had been any Entwives near the Shire, wouldn't Saruman have
> received the same treatment twice?

Beautiful image... but who knows what their personalities were like.

> Where are the Rangers? Those that could quickly be gathered went
> south, but surely that means there were others out ranging. Couldn't a
> handful of Rangers have freed the Shire?

Remember what Butterbur told Gandalf and the hobbits when they passed
back through Bree: the Rangers had seemingly disappeared, and there
were frightening, dangerous things threatening the Bree-land as a
result. (Perhaps those "foes who would freeze his heart" that lived a
day's march away, if I recall Aragorn's phrasing correctly... whatever
they were.) I suspect that "those would could be gathered in haste"
went south, and that those who were still out ranging ended up
returning to guard their homes and families. (Perhaps it was those
currently on "home guard duty" who were able to be sent south quickly
in the first place... but in any case, they'd need to be replaced.
Where exactly did the rangers live, anyway? Rivendell seemed to be an
exception, not the rule.)
Steuard Jensen

Michele Fry

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 2:03:36 PM4/18/05
to
In article <buR8e.12$45....@news.uchicago.edu>, Steuard Jensen
<sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> writes

>Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"
>
>First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
>Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
>mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
>climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like
>nothing but a minor hiccup after all that has gone before. (I got a
>lot of questions and comments like this when the movies came out, for
>instance.) So how does everyone else here respond to those issues?
>Is the Scouring of the Shire out of place in the book?

Because it's traditional for the hero to go home at the successful end
of his quest ? I don't think it's out of place at all - I think it's
vitally important because it shows that no part of Middle-earth was
unaffected by Sauron and the long reach of his arm... And War affects
those left behind as well as those who go away to fight... I also think
that it was very important to show the four Hobbits themselves (and the
readers as well) that they really had grown up (as I believe I mentioned
elsewhere in this NG before) and could manage their own affairs without
needing to run to the likes of Gandalf or Aragorn every time something
went wrong...

>I always wished that the Sam-Rosie connection had been built up more
>before the hobbits return to the Shire. As far as I recall, she's
>only mentioned by name once before that, when Sam thinks back to
>playing in Bywater pond, and his fondness for her in particular is
>really only apparent in retrospect. And the previous reference to
>her, Sam's comments about what Galadriel offered him in Lorien, is
>even more subtle: when describing his own prospective hobbit hole, I'm
>pretty convinced that he substituted "with a little patch of garden of
>my own" for "with Rosie Cotton". But again, you'd only pick up on
>that if you'd read the book all the way through before.
>
>My question, then, is why Tolkien "surprised us" with Rosie as he did.
>Was it just that he didn't come up with Sam's love interest until he
>was nearly finished writing the book, or did he refrain from
>mentioning her earlier for a reason? (I'm sure that a careful
>re-reading of the "HoLotR" books would shed some light on this, but I
>don't know that even that would answer it completely.)

Dare I suggest that this is one aspect that PJ got right ? That he
showed us Sam's interest in Rosie (and that she wasn't wholly
disinterested in him) before they set out on their Quest to Mount Doom ?

Michele
==
Leisure without literature is death, or rather the burial of a living
[person].
- Seneca
==

Now reading: A Question of Time - Verlyn Flieger
Quicksilver Rising - Stan Nicholls

AC

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 2:21:17 PM4/18/05
to
On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 01:23:37 -0700, R Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote:

<snip>

>
> Discussion Question: Prior to the takeover, Hobbits had freely obeyed
> "The Rules" handed down by tradition. Are the Chief's new "Rules"
> meant to exploit this heritage? In general, is the sudden transition
> from utopian near-anarchy to police state handled believably? What
> factors in Shire culture would assist or hinder such a transition?

I think the only thing that allowed the Ruffians to be as successful as they
had been was due to them apparently bribing some less-than-nice Hobbits and
taking advantage of a population that had basically had almost no real
martial experience in decades.

> Discussion Question: I recall awhile back some folk suggested Merry
> and Pippin wouldn't have been ready to raise the Shire back when
> Elrond wanted to send them home. What do you think? While their value
> as members of the Fellowship is unquestionable, how would they have
> fared if they had been around to deal with "the Chief" much earlier?

I think they were brave fellows before, but I don't think they would have
known what exactly to do. They wouldn't have had the self-confidence to
step in as leaders, and that was the critical step. They had experienced
deadly combat, had fought with powerful and talented military leaders.

<snip>

> Discussion Question: Saruman doesn't seem to have equipped his men
> very well at all, nor provided even basic tactical training. Was he
> even interested in holding the Shire once the Fellowship hobbits
> returned?

I suspect Saruman's plan before the fall of Isengard was to "soften" the
population up. After his fall, Saruman just became a mean SOB intent on
screwing over the people he likely attributed the most with his defeat.

<snip>

>
> Discussion Question: Is Saruman, having failed to imitate Sauron, now
> walking Morgoth's path to nihilism? Or is the pointless destruction
> just a symptom of a desire for specific revenge? Does Saruman offer an
> example of an evil "type" distinct from the Sauronic and Morgothian
> varieties?

I don't know if it was nihilism, but rather just simple revenge

>
> Bonus Question: It seems a rather large amount of material was
> shipping out of the Shire. How important was the Shire to Saruman's
> war effort? What alternative source, if any, were there to secure
> supplies for his forces?

Well Saruman clearly had a big army to feed, and I would imagine that any
supplies he could get out of the Shire, a land clearly rich as an
agricultural producer, would be valuable to him. Since we don't know that
much about the lands in between, I don't know how many other places he could
have hoped to secure supplies. Perhaps the Shire was a very important part
of Saruman's war machine.

<snip>

>
> Discussion Question: Samwise Gamgee is, unlike Frodo, active in the
> military exploits of the Scouring, but he is not one of the main
> leaders like Merry or Pippin or the Thain. Even Farmer Cotton might be
> considered a bit more prominent, although Sam's war-gear probably drew
> him some extra attention. Did this secondary position in the list of
> war heroes help or hinder his political career? If you were running
> Sam's election campaign, would you play the war-hero card or strictly
> focus on his agricultural feats?

To be honest, I think Sam was probably a hero to the common Hobbit. Merry
and Pippin were both scions of great families, but the Gamgees seemed to be
your average Hobbit clan. Clearly Sam played the "every man" er... "every
Hobbit" card.

<snip>

>
> A few final questions:
>
> Do you think Wormtongue ate Lotho? Or it Spinmaster Saruman trying to
> make Worm look even worse than he is?

I can't imagine Wormtongue sunk that low.

>
> What do you find the most disturbing change in the Shire? Why?

I think the general notion of imprisoning people is what I found the most
disturbing.

>
> Did Lotho deserve was he got?

I can't say he didn't, but at the same time he was a product of his
upbringing, filled with envy and just the kind of person to fall in with
those that would feign to promise him influence.

>
> If there had been any Entwives near the Shire, wouldn't Saruman have
> received the same treatment twice?

Possibly.

>
> Where are the Rangers? Those that could quickly be gathered went
> south, but surely that means there were others out ranging. Couldn't a
> handful of Rangers have freed the Shire?

My understanding, particularly from Butterbur's statement about all the
Rangers being gone, is that there were no Dunedain left in the North, and
they had all gone South to be with their chieftain.

>
> What would Saruman have done if he'd lived?

Probably continued to make mischieve in some small way. He was still a
being of incredible knowledge and skill, so I wouldn't doubt that at some
point he would have found a home with some prince or chieftain and taken
things over, sort of an uber-Wormtongue.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

AC

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 2:27:40 PM4/18/05
to
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 16:44:55 GMT,
Steuard Jensen <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote:
> Quoth R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> in article
><33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com>:
>> Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"
>
> First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
> Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
> mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
> climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like
> nothing but a minor hiccup after all that has gone before. (I got a
> lot of questions and comments like this when the movies came out, for
> instance.) So how does everyone else here respond to those issues?
> Is the Scouring of the Shire out of place in the book?

Clearly trouble in the Shire is foreshadowed almost from the start (second
chapter I believe, with reference to the Bounders never being busier).
Elrond even hints at it when he wants to send Merry and Pippin back.
Galadriel's mirror makes direct reference to very bad things going on, and
the discovery of Leaf from the Southfarthing among the ruin of Isengard is
as clear a signal as one needs that Saruman has been up to no good.

I think it's necessary for the returning Hobbits, heroes though they may be,
to have to make one last effort to clean up their own land. The War of the
Ring had been so vast and all-encompassing that not even the Shire could
escape it.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

Mästerkatten

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 3:12:20 PM4/18/05
to
sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in news:buR8e.12
$45....@news.uchicago.edu:

>> Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"
>
> First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
> Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
> mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
> climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like
> nothing but a minor hiccup after all that has gone before. (I got a
> lot of questions and comments like this when the movies came out, for
> instance.) So how does everyone else here respond to those issues?
> Is the Scouring of the Shire out of place in the book?

One thing I like about this chapter, is how it expresses the
complications of "doing the right thing"; the four hobbits have had their
priorities and made a choice, the choice to leave the Shire and fulfill
the quest of the Ring. Thus it became geographically impossible to
control what was happening behind their backs. They must have had a
gnawing feeling all the time of not knowing what was going on at home,
but on returning home all their worries are confirmed: there was a price
to pay for saving the world.

LoTR would have lacked some teeth without "The Scouring of the Shire".

>> Discussion Question: Do we learn anything from Tolkien's portrayal
>> of Sam and Rosie Cotton in this chapter? Does it make the later
>> marriage of these two more natural-seeming? Is there any comparison
>> to the Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?
>
> I always wished that the Sam-Rosie connection had been built up more
> before the hobbits return to the Shire. As far as I recall, she's
> only mentioned by name once before that, when Sam thinks back to
> playing in Bywater pond, and his fondness for her in particular is
> really only apparent in retrospect. And the previous reference to
> her, Sam's comments about what Galadriel offered him in Lorien, is
> even more subtle: when describing his own prospective hobbit hole, I'm
> pretty convinced that he substituted "with a little patch of garden of
> my own" for "with Rosie Cotton". But again, you'd only pick up on
> that if you'd read the book all the way through before.
>
> My question, then, is why Tolkien "surprised us" with Rosie as he did.
> Was it just that he didn't come up with Sam's love interest until he
> was nearly finished writing the book, or did he refrain from
> mentioning her earlier for a reason? (I'm sure that a careful
> re-reading of the "HoLotR" books would shed some light on this, but I
> don't know that even that would answer it completely.)

I think you are right in what you say about Sam's comment about
Galadriel's gift. The absence of mentioning Rosie makes it possible to
reveal at a late stage that there was another sacrifice that Sam had
made, apart from the hardships of the quest. Of course he wouldn't make
much ado about this, and thus it seems correct that neither does Tolkien,
but lets the reader make the inference... The dutiful Sam suppresses his
personal wishes and desires during the travels and hardship, some of
which wishes surfaces during his Ring-temptation at the doorstep to
Mordor, when he imagines himself as a great lord who will turn the
wastelands into a garden. I think this is an elegant way of showing us
more of Sam's character.

[snip]

--
Mästerkatten

"If the best you can do is lame excuses
and obfuscations, you will never escape
the fantasy world in which you are totally
enmeshed"

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 5:40:21 PM4/18/05
to
Michele Fry <mic...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

> Dare I suggest that this is one aspect that PJ got right ?

<gasp> HERESY! :-)

> That he showed us Sam's interest in Rosie (and that she wasn't wholly
> disinterested in him) before they set out on their Quest to Mount
> Doom ?

I like the suggestion someone else made about how it would have been
out-of-character for Sam to think about Rosie all the time when he had
other tasks at hand, and how the single mention of her becomes all the
more poignant as something more precious. Though it is a bit odd that he
mentions his Gaffer more often than Rosie.

And it is strange that given Tolkien added in Arwen at the beginning of
the story, he didn't bother to also add in Rose Cotton at the beginning
of the story. Maybe that is the answer. He was so intent on writing his
own love story into the story (Arwen and Aragorn being the Third Age
echo of Beren and Luthien), that he neglected the other love story.

Though there is an explanation of sorts:

"'It's Rosie, Rose Cotton,' said Sam. 'It seems she didn't like my going
abroad at all, poor lass; but as I hadn't spoken, she couldn't say so.
And I didn't speak, because I had a job to do first. But now I have
spoken, and she says: "Well, you've wasted a year, so why wait longer?"
"Wasted?" I says. "I wouldn't call it that." Still I see what she
means.'"

Christopher

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

Larry Swain

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 7:35:08 PM4/18/05
to

Steuard Jensen wrote:
> Quoth R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> in article
> <33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com>:
>
>>Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"
>
>
> First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
> Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
> mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
> climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like
> nothing but a minor hiccup after all that has gone before. (I got a
> lot of questions and comments like this when the movies came out, for
> instance.) So how does everyone else here respond to those issues?
> Is the Scouring of the Shire out of place in the book?

How sad for them. There are several reasons. The LoTR isn't a
"fantasy" book, and its my impression that most of the people who object
to the post Mount Doom material come to LoTR from reading fantasy rather
than other kinds of literature. LoTR owes much to epic, ancient and
medieval. THe themes of home and homecoming are vital, and the
preservation of one's home--in fact the whole reason for leaving the
Shire in the end isn't about some fear of a far off Dark Lord, but
rather because Frodo knows, and is relunctant to admit, that only be
leaving home can he save it. In the end, he realizes that he saved it
for others, not himself. Ending the book at the Steward and the King
for example would rob both us the audience and the characters of their
own homecoming, and so ignore a principal theme of the work.

Related to this is the fact that the main characters of the work are the
hobbits, not Aragorn. The end of the story is NOT the climax of Mount
Doom. In fact I would say that that is not the major climax at all, not
of the hobbit's tale. That is, in LoTR there are 2 stories that
coincide for awhile: the story of the hobbits and the continuing story
of the great events set in motion at creation with Morgoth etc, the last
vestiges of which are still being dealt with in LoTR. Mount Doom is the
climax of those events, that story that began at creation with Morgoth
and his music and all the sad tales related since. But it isn't the
climax of the other story, the story of the hobbits. That is the
Scouring of the Shire.

This is reflected in the structure of the work. The last half of Book 6
parallels in most particulars the structure of the whole, but especially
of Book 1. After the Scouring, which completes the cycle, we have a
concluding chapter telling us what happened, paralleling the initial
chapter as prologue which gives us the background. The structural
elements of the work are an elegent piece of artistry and in my view
t'would be a sad thing and a grave disservice to excise or skip the
post-Mount Doom material.


>
>
>>Discussion Question: Do we learn anything from Tolkien's portrayal
>>of Sam and Rosie Cotton in this chapter? Does it make the later
>>marriage of these two more natural-seeming? Is there any comparison
>>to the Aragorn-Arwen or Faramir-Eowyn courtships?
>
>
> I always wished that the Sam-Rosie connection had been built up more
> before the hobbits return to the Shire. As far as I recall, she's
> only mentioned by name once before that, when Sam thinks back to
> playing in Bywater pond, and his fondness for her in particular is
> really only apparent in retrospect. And the previous reference to
> her, Sam's comments about what Galadriel offered him in Lorien, is
> even more subtle: when describing his own prospective hobbit hole, I'm
> pretty convinced that he substituted "with a little patch of garden of
> my own" for "with Rosie Cotton". But again, you'd only pick up on
> that if you'd read the book all the way through before.

Another structural element: there are 3 male-female relationships that
grow out of the War of the Ring: Aragorn and Arwen are finally married
reuniting sundered houses and fulfilling cycles of history. Eowyn and
Faramir marry and unite more fully the houses of men. And Sam and Rosie
wed, and it is after all Sam who starts as a lowly hobbit but who has
truly become ennobled by the journey, and "ennobled" in fact by becoming
Frodo's heir. After this point there is no question of Sam's being able
to read and write, carry on the traditions of the Redbook and in his
turn not only be mayor and have the respect of the Shire in ways that
Frodo and Bilbo never did, but to pass on the Redbook to posterity. Sam
and Rosie, like Eowyn and Farmir, are the signs of new things, and
things to come whereas Aragorn and Arwen are more signs of what was and
is now passing from the world. So yes, I think that we do in fact learn
something from Sam and Rosie in this chapter, and foreshadowing her too
much I think would have spoilt the parallel with Eowyn and Faramir who
find love at the darkest hour; so to do Sam and Rosie express love at if
not the darkest hour, at least a dark one.

This last point brings us to another theme of Tolkien's that S&R point
to: that hope should never be allowed to die.


>
>
>>Bonus Question: It seems a rather large amount of material was
>>shipping out of the Shire. How important was the Shire to Saruman's
>>war effort?
>
>
> I don't have a good answer, but that's a very interesting question. I
> don't think I'd really considered it before.

Probably, I'd think. Saruman couldn't get supplies from the south
(Rohan, Gondor, Fangorn), not enough from stealing or sneaking things
through Rohan anyway. That leaves the other side of the Gap. Other
than the Dunlendings, who else or where else was inhabited enough for
him to get sufficient supplies? So I'd think the Shire and Bree were
fairly important....one of the reasons to send non-military types up the
Greenway was surely to give Saruman information and contacts in those areas.


>
>>Did Lotho deserve was he got?
>
>
> I don't think that Frodo thought so. And I don't, either. Greed and
> recklessness are bad, but I don't think they merit death.
>

No, or rather no to the original question, I agree here. Certainly not
death by stabbing in your sleep a virtual prisoner in your own home
watching all that you had worked for destroyed by the greed of someone
else and knowing its your own fault only to have your flesh eaten from
your bones by a starving man. No, he didn't deserve that. Lotho wasn't
evil. Greedy, a bit power hungry, but in the end I think it was simply
a case of knowing that Gandalf was associated with Bilbo and Frodo, and
when the other wizard approaches him for a business deal, he sees a
chance for his own betterment: the enemy of my enemy (in a small,
hobbitish sort of way, Lotho and Frodo are enemies) is my friend kind of
thing. But Lotho in my view wasn't evil.


Larry Swain

unread,
Apr 18, 2005, 11:47:26 PM4/18/05
to

>
>>A few final questions:
>>
>>Do you think Wormtongue ate Lotho? Or it Spinmaster Saruman trying to
>>make Worm look even worse than he is?
>
>
> I can't imagine Wormtongue sunk that low.

I can, but not on his own. Undoubtedly starved, having the malice of
Saruman bent on you for months on end, and the Voice.....I'm sure that
Saruman tormented Wormtongue, or what was left of him, into murdering
Lotho in his sleep and getting rid of the evidence, so to speak.

>

Derek Broughton

unread,
Apr 19, 2005, 8:46:40 AM4/19/05
to
Larry Swain wrote:

> Steuard Jensen wrote:
>>
>> First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
>> Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
>> mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
>> climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like
>

> How sad for them. There are several reasons. The LoTR isn't a
> "fantasy" book, and its my impression that most of the people who object
> to the post Mount Doom material come to LoTR from reading fantasy rather
> than other kinds of literature.

Piffle! (or some such) Of _course_ it's a fantasy novel! The scouring of
the Shire is perfectly appropriate in a fantasy novel, anyway. It's quite
simply not in keeping with modern story-telling tradition. You have a
climax and a _short_ denouement. Compared to most modern novels, in any
genre, it goes on too long after the climax. I had my own problems with it
the first time I read it. I've got used to it in the few dozen
rereadings :-)

> Related to this is the fact that the main characters of the work are the
> hobbits, not Aragorn. The end of the story is NOT the climax of Mount
> Doom.

I'd say the major characters are certainly not "the hobbits". They're Frodo
(with strong support from Samwise Gamgee, and even Gollum) and The Ring.
Which does bring us to a significant conclusion at Mount Doom.

>>>Did Lotho deserve was he got?
>>
>> I don't think that Frodo thought so. And I don't, either. Greed and
>> recklessness are bad, but I don't think they merit death.
>
> No, or rather no to the original question, I agree here. Certainly not
> death by stabbing in your sleep a virtual prisoner in your own home
> watching all that you had worked for destroyed by the greed of someone

Who ever really gets what they "deserve"? He got the predictable (in
hindsight) rewards of the machine he set in motion. Even Frodo isn't going
to lose any sleep over it. He's not overjoyed, but he recognizes that it
was all pretty inevitable.

> But Lotho in my view wasn't evil.

Perhaps not a very great evil, but it was _his_ greed that set all this in
motion. He's a long way from good, and not even neutral. He doesn't even
(apparently) have a claim to have been tempted or tricked by Saruman.
Lotho was already well on his own road when they crossed paths.
--
derek

Henriette

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 3:55:37 AM4/20/05
to
John Whistler wrote:
> In article <be50318e.05041...@posting.google.com>,
Henriette
> <held...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Rosie's words: "Well, be off with you! If you've been looking after
> > Mr. Frodo all this while, what d'you want to leave him for, as soon
as
> > things look dangerous?" must be amongst the most unjust in the all
of
> > the LOTR.
>
> I wouldn't say "unjust". It's more Tolkien's way of showing the
> hobbits' parochial view of the world, similar to the piece in the
> previous chapter, where the Bree hobbits inquire about Frodo's book;
> "He promised to deal with the amazing events at Bree, and so give a
bit
> of interest to a book that appeared likely to treat mostly of the
> remote and less important affairs 'away south'."
>
LOL, yes, and the gaffer's: "And while you've been trapessing in
foreign parts, chasing Black Men up mountains from what my Sam says,
though what for he don't make clear, they've been and dug up Bagshot
Row and ruined my taters!"

This "parochial" view of the world comes across to me as being very
unfair to the people involved and Rosie's (above quoted) words added to
her: "You haven't hurried, have you?", makes it hard for me to like
her.

Henriette

aelfwina

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 8:08:59 AM4/21/05
to

"Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1113983737.8...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

I have always taken her response to be more in the mold of what Merry spoke
of in the Houses of Healing: using light words, when the feeling is too
deep--I find it a very *hobbity* response, if not exactly romantic. Besides,
Sam's in a hurry, and her parents and brothers are watching. It's very clear
she *has* been waiting for him, after all.
Barbara

>
> Henriette
>


aelfwina

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 10:07:42 AM4/21/05
to

"Derek Broughton" <ne...@pointerstop.ca> wrote in message
news:o6bfj2-...@othello.pointerstop.ca...

> Piffle! (or some such) Of _course_ it's a fantasy novel! The scouring
> of
> the Shire is perfectly appropriate in a fantasy novel, anyway. It's quite
> simply not in keeping with modern story-telling tradition. You have a
> climax and a _short_ denouement. Compared to most modern novels, in any
> genre, it goes on too long after the climax. I had my own problems with
> it
> the first time I read it. I've got used to it in the few dozen
> rereadings :-)

My problem with it was not so much that it was too much "denouement" (I was
perfectly happy for the story to continue, and in my first reading, unaware
that many of the lovely pages left were not story, but Appendices, thought I
had a good deal of story left. *sigh*) My problem was that I was outraged at
the idea of the Shire being spoiled. It took me a while to come to grips
with that. I did not find even the Grey Havens so disturbing as I did the
idea that after all they had been through, the Shire had not stayed safe for
them. Of course, I was a lot younger then. Now it is one of my favorite
parts of the book, and I am able to appreciate how it was foreshadowed all
along, and to enjoy the aspect of the Travellers cleaning out the Shire on
their own. But it took a few readings for that mindset to change.

(snip)


> Who ever really gets what they "deserve"? He got the predictable (in
> hindsight) rewards of the machine he set in motion. Even Frodo isn't
> going
> to lose any sleep over it. He's not overjoyed, but he recognizes that it
> was all pretty inevitable.
>
>> But Lotho in my view wasn't evil.
>
> Perhaps not a very great evil, but it was _his_ greed that set all this in
> motion. He's a long way from good, and not even neutral. He doesn't even
> (apparently) have a claim to have been tempted or tricked by Saruman.
> Lotho was already well on his own road when they crossed paths.

Lotho in my view definitely *was* evil. His evil was petty, but to my mind
far worse than many of the more powerful villians. He did not even have the
Ring to blame it on, or Saruman's voice, at least in the beginning. As you
said he was well on his own road.
Barbara


> --
> derek


Natman

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 11:56:48 AM4/20/05
to
On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 01:23:37 -0700, R. Dan Henry
<danh...@inreach.com> wrote:


>Lord of the Rings
>Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"
>

[snip]

I can't let this chapter go by without mentioning my favorite line in
the book. Hob Haywood, explaining to Merry et al. about why there is
such a shortage of everything:

"Well no, the year' s been good enough,' said Hob. 'We grows a lot of
food, but we don't rightly know what becomes of it. It's all these
"gatherers" and "sharers", I reckon, going round counting and
measuring and taking off to storage. They do more gathering than
sharing, and we never see most of the stuff again.' "

A scathing and succinct critisism of excessive taxation / socialism /
communism, from the lips of a country hobbit!

Morgil

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 1:49:24 PM4/20/05
to
Natman wrote:

> I can't let this chapter go by without mentioning my favorite line in
> the book. Hob Haywood, explaining to Merry et al. about why there is
> such a shortage of everything:
>
> "Well no, the year' s been good enough,' said Hob. 'We grows a lot of
> food, but we don't rightly know what becomes of it. It's all these
> "gatherers" and "sharers", I reckon, going round counting and
> measuring and taking off to storage. They do more gathering than
> sharing, and we never see most of the stuff again.' "
>
> A scathing and succinct critisism of excessive taxation / socialism /
> communism, from the lips of a country hobbit!

Unfortunately that only works if you take it out of the context.

"Seems he wanted to own everything himself, and then order other folk about.
It soon came out that he already did own a sight more than was good for him;
and he was always grabbing more"

"But at the end o’ last year he
began sending away loads of stuff, not only leaf. Things began to get short,
and winter coming on, too. Folk got angry, but he had his answer."

So rather then socialism it's actually more about criticism of
unrestricted capitalism and free trade. Hob, the simple hobbit
just didn't have all the background information about the roots
of the problems. Just like many welfare critics of today. :-)

Morgil

AC

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 1:52:08 PM4/20/05
to
On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 09:07:42 -0500,
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>
> Lotho in my view definitely *was* evil. His evil was petty, but to my mind
> far worse than many of the more powerful villians. He did not even have the
> Ring to blame it on, or Saruman's voice, at least in the beginning. As you
> said he was well on his own road.

Well, we'll have to go with a nature vs. nurture argument here. I think
Lotho was a product of the Sackville-Baggins' long feud with Bilbo's family.
He had doubtless been raised since early infancy to resent Bilbo, and I
think it's pretty clear that that resentment scarred him, so that he became
one of those people who desires, for no other reason than throwing their
weight around, to gain power. I don't think he was evil in the same way
that Sauron or Saruman were.

It's all int he mtoher, I tell you! Lobelia may have made up for her evil
ways at the end, but she must have spent years harping on Lotho, so I think
she has to share the blame.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

Shanahan

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 3:14:41 PM4/20/05
to
aelfwina 116clai...@corp.supernews.com creatively typed:

> "Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>> John Whistler wrote:

>> This "parochial" view of the world comes across to me as being very
>> unfair to the people involved and Rosie's (above quoted) words
>> added to her: "You haven't hurried, have you?", makes it hard for
>> me to like her.

> I have always taken her response to be more in the mold of what
> Merry spoke of in the Houses of Healing: using light words, when the
> feeling is too deep--I find it a very *hobbity* response, if not
> exactly romantic. Besides, Sam's in a hurry, and her parents and
> brothers are watching. It's very clear she *has* been waiting for
> him, after all.

Yes! I agree. She has been waiting, but without much hope. Also she has
no formal right to be speaking to Sam of his obligations to her; he had
not asked for her hand, before they left on the Quest.
In the Epilogue that Tolkien intended to be the final chapter of LotR,
(which was nixed by everyone, apparently on grounds that it was too
'sentimental', which is kind of a larf considering the rest of the
book), it says:
[Note the date: the effect of Sauron's death reached the minds and
hearts of people even as far away as the Shire.]

"Master Samwise stood at the door and looked away eastward. He drew
Mistress Rose to him, and set his arm about her. 'March the
twenty-fifth!' he said. 'This day seventeen years ago, Rose wife, I
didn't think I should ever see thee again. But I kept on hoping.'
'I never hoped at all, Sam,' she said, 'not until that very day; and
then suddenly I did. About noon it was, and I felt so glad that I began
singing. And mother said: "Quiet, lass! There's ruffians about." And I
said: "Let them come! Their time will soon be over. Sam's coming back."
And you came.'
'I did,' said Sam. 'To the most belovedest place in all the world. To
my Rose and to my garden.'

Ciaran S.
--
"To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies;
you are his heir, you come back to find that
hardly was the corpse cold before his younger brother
popped onto his throne and into his sheets,
thereby offending both legal and natural practice.
Now *why exactly* are you behaving in this extraordinary manner?"
- t.stoppard, R&G Are Dead


Shanahan

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 3:31:49 PM4/20/05
to
aelfwina 115vjl3...@corp.supernews.com creatively typed:

> I wish JRRT had showed us Pippin's arrival in Tookland, and his
> father's reaction! (Oh well, that's what gap-fillers are for...)

So, there's your plot bunny: get going! <g>

> One thing I've always believed: when he said "Do not expect me to
> wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is
> not my doing, I merely foretell" he was using his Voice, and
> basically cursing Frodo. In other words, he was lying again, and if
> Frodo had been a little bit more cynical he would have realized this.

I always thought that Saruman was telling the strict truth here. Frodo
did have neither health nor long life. But Saruman's prophetic vision
was limited by his spiritual downfall, his shrinking if you will; he
was barely even a Maia any more by this point. So he failed to see that
Frodo would go West, hopefully to regain his health, and a normal, if
not long, life. I see Saruman's error here as a lack of vision, rather
than a deliberate lie.

Ciaran S.
--


aelfwina

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 4:08:58 PM4/21/05
to

"Shanahan" <pogu...@ITbluefrog.com> wrote in message
news:d469j...@enews1.newsguy.com...

> aelfwina 116clai...@corp.supernews.com creatively typed:
>> "Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>>> John Whistler wrote:
>
>>> This "parochial" view of the world comes across to me as being very
>>> unfair to the people involved and Rosie's (above quoted) words
>>> added to her: "You haven't hurried, have you?", makes it hard for
>>> me to like her.
>
>> I have always taken her response to be more in the mold of what
>> Merry spoke of in the Houses of Healing: using light words, when the
>> feeling is too deep--I find it a very *hobbity* response, if not
>> exactly romantic. Besides, Sam's in a hurry, and her parents and
>> brothers are watching. It's very clear she *has* been waiting for
>> him, after all.
>
> Yes! I agree. She has been waiting, but without much hope. Also she has
> no formal right to be speaking to Sam of his obligations to her; he had
> not asked for her hand, before they left on the Quest.

I get the feeling that even though Sam had not "spoken" that he and Rose had
a long-standing "unspoken" understanding.

> In the Epilogue that Tolkien intended to be the final chapter of LotR,
> (which was nixed by everyone, apparently on grounds that it was too
> 'sentimental', which is kind of a larf considering the rest of the
> book), it says:
> [Note the date: the effect of Sauron's death reached the minds and
> hearts of people even as far away as the Shire.]
>
> "Master Samwise stood at the door and looked away eastward. He drew
> Mistress Rose to him, and set his arm about her. 'March the
> twenty-fifth!' he said. 'This day seventeen years ago, Rose wife, I
> didn't think I should ever see thee again. But I kept on hoping.'
> 'I never hoped at all, Sam,' she said, 'not until that very day; and
> then suddenly I did. About noon it was, and I felt so glad that I began
> singing. And mother said: "Quiet, lass! There's ruffians about." And I
> said: "Let them come! Their time will soon be over. Sam's coming back."
> And you came.'
> 'I did,' said Sam. 'To the most belovedest place in all the world. To
> my Rose and to my garden.'

I know. I love this; even though it was not included. I wish it somehow
could have been, but really there was not a good place for it in the story
proper. As for too sentimental? Right. What's wrong with sentiment?
Barbara

aelfwina

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 4:17:28 PM4/21/05
to

"Shanahan" <pogu...@ITbluefrog.com> wrote in message
news:d46am...@enews1.newsguy.com...

> aelfwina 115vjl3...@corp.supernews.com creatively typed:
>
>> I wish JRRT had showed us Pippin's arrival in Tookland, and his
>> father's reaction! (Oh well, that's what gap-fillers are for...)
>
> So, there's your plot bunny: get going! <g>

<g> Been there, done that. It was my very first story, in fact, a kind of
sequel to someone else's.
Still, it would have been fun to see JRRT's take on the rousing of the
Tooks.

>
>> One thing I've always believed: when he said "Do not expect me to
>> wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is
>> not my doing, I merely foretell" he was using his Voice, and
>> basically cursing Frodo. In other words, he was lying again, and if
>> Frodo had been a little bit more cynical he would have realized this.
>
> I always thought that Saruman was telling the strict truth here. Frodo
> did have neither health nor long life. But Saruman's prophetic vision
> was limited by his spiritual downfall, his shrinking if you will; he
> was barely even a Maia any more by this point. So he failed to see that
> Frodo would go West, hopefully to regain his health, and a normal, if
> not long, life. I see Saruman's error here as a lack of vision, rather
> than a deliberate lie.

I think the lie was in saying "that is not my doing". He wanted to plant
seeds of despair in Frodo, so that when he had difficulties adjusting and
recovering--as would have only been natural--Frodo would have felt it was no
use trying to overcome them, as it had supposedly been "foreseen" he could
not. I agree that he probably *did* foresee the problems Frodo would have,
and that you are right in the failure of his ultimate foresight--for as you
said, he would have gained both health and life in the West, something
Saruman *could* not foresee, as it was unprecedented.
But if Frodo had been able to discount Saruman's words, he *might* have been
able eventually to regain his life in the Shire. It's an idea I've played
with, anyway.
Barbara

>
> Ciaran S.
> --
>
>


Larry Swain

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 5:38:39 PM4/20/05
to

Derek Broughton wrote:
> Larry Swain wrote:
>
>
>>Steuard Jensen wrote:
>>
>>>First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
>>>Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
>>>mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
>>>climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like
>>
>>How sad for them. There are several reasons. The LoTR isn't a
>>"fantasy" book, and its my impression that most of the people who object
>>to the post Mount Doom material come to LoTR from reading fantasy rather
>>than other kinds of literature.
>
>
> Piffle! (or some such) Of _course_ it's a fantasy novel!

Poppy cock! It isn't. Thanks for your illuminating comment though. If
you want to discuss rather than declare, I'd invite the discussion. So
what in your view makes LoTR a fantasy novel?

The scouring of
> the Shire is perfectly appropriate in a fantasy novel, anyway.

Didn't say it wasn't. I said, and I repeat, that in my experience that
the people who have issues with the post-Mount Doom material being too
long generally come to LoTR AFTER reading fantasy literature and
approaching LoTR as fantasy.

It's quite
> simply not in keeping with modern story-telling tradition.

NOt true, particularly since the story is like The Hobbit before it, a
story of "there and back again", that's modern. The use of multiple
plot lines and plot levels that converge and diverge and reconverge are
modern. And I could go on. There's nothing "unmodern" about Tolkien's
story-telling, including in the fact that the Scouring of the Shire is
the climatic point for the hobbits.


You have a
> climax and a _short_ denouement. Compared to most modern novels, in any
> genre, it goes on too long after the climax.

That assumes and argues that Mount Doom is the climax of the whole
story, rather than of one plot line.


I had my own problems with it
> the first time I read it. I've got used to it in the few dozen
> rereadings :-)
>
>
>>Related to this is the fact that the main characters of the work are the
>>hobbits, not Aragorn. The end of the story is NOT the climax of Mount
>>Doom.
>
>
> I'd say the major characters are certainly not "the hobbits". They're Frodo

Always thought Frodo was a hobbit.

> (with strong support from Samwise Gamgee,

another hobbit

and even Gollum)

hmmm, said to be related to the fathers of the fathers of the
Stoors....so proto-hobbit.

So can you tell me please how your position here differs from my own?

I'll add though that I think you are being short sighted. Merry and
Pippin are as major as Frodo and Sam as characters, even if not as
important to the several plot lines. Merry and Pippin are afterall the
conspirators in the first book, as important movers of events in the
second, third, and fifth as others. It is afterall the story of Merry
and Pippin we follow to Minas Tirith and only here in a conversation how
Aragorn came there, for example.

and The Ring.

Not a character.

> Which does bring us to a significant conclusion at Mount Doom.

Never said it wasn't significant or conclusive. But just as there are
many plots levels and lines, so there is more than one climax. Wanting
the story to end shortly after Mount Doom misses the importance of what
that climax is all about, why its important, and of course only
concludes one level of plot. In fact, from Tolkien's point of view, the
end of the War of the Ring does not come until Saruman's "death", so
there is only a chapter of "denouement" after the main event is resolved.

>
>
>>>>Did Lotho deserve was he got?
>>>
>>>I don't think that Frodo thought so. And I don't, either. Greed and
>>>recklessness are bad, but I don't think they merit death.
>>
>>No, or rather no to the original question, I agree here. Certainly not
>>death by stabbing in your sleep a virtual prisoner in your own home
>>watching all that you had worked for destroyed by the greed of someone
>
>
> Who ever really gets what they "deserve"?

While true generally, I don't find this to be particularly helpful or
cogent. Are you responding to the original question here? To Steuard?
To me? Not sure, so don't wish to assume that you're saying something
you aren't.


He got the predictable (in
> hindsight) rewards of the machine he set in motion.

But that's just it: hindsight and full knowledge of Saruman, and what he
was doing with Sauron etc lets us the reader (and Sam, Frodo, Merry, and
Pippin) see that. It certainly was not made known to Lotho!
Predictable only because we know Saruman's true character. I'm not sure
how much "machine" Lotho put in motion, and neither is anyone else since
it was all done in his name, but how much of it was actually him. He
probably thought he had a good deal going with Saruman, and then
Saruman's gangs show up and undoubtedly overran Lotho. So how much is
the machine he set in motion?


Even Frodo isn't going
> to lose any sleep over it.

Oh, I don't know. He went to Michel Delving and escorted Lobelia out
personally and told her of Lotho's murder; and Lobelia leaves Frodo all
her money and Lotho's, and when she dies Frodo is very moved....you
could say that's Lobelia, not Lotho, and you'd have a point. But they
are always connected, and while Lotho's murder may not be in the top 10
things Frodo thinks about, I wouldn't fall into the other extreme as I
think you have. I'd also point to the fact that Frodo, before he knows
of Lotho's murder, plans to get up a rescue attempt since he believes
Lotho is a prisoner in Bag End at the mercy of the ruffians. For
someone not losing sleep over Lotho, that seems pretty concerned about
his welfare.

He's not overjoyed, but he recognizes that it
> was all pretty inevitable.

Citation please?

>
>>But Lotho in my view wasn't evil.
>
>
> Perhaps not a very great evil, but it was _his_ greed that set all this in
> motion.

So making a good business deal is evil? I mean, sending most of the
pipeweed crop to Saruman for a good price is hardly "evil". It might
make hobbits a bit sore, but hardly evil. The true evil in this regard
is the closing of the inns because the Chief (Saruman, not Lotho)
doesn't hold with beer....now that, my friend, is evil!


He's a long way from good, and not even neutral. He doesn't even
> (apparently) have a claim to have been tempted or tricked by Saruman.
> Lotho was already well on his own road when they crossed paths.

How do you figure that? Based on the actual evidence of the LoTR what
specifically can you attribute to Lotho---not what the hobbits think he
might have done because they don't know about Saruman, but what
specifically can be laid at Lotho's door. Sending away the pipeweed
crop. Lots of other stuff is done for the "chief" but what specifically
for Lotho? That he tried to set himself up as "chief"? How is that evil?

Larry Swain

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 5:51:15 PM4/20/05
to

>>
>>>But Lotho in my view wasn't evil.
>>
>>Perhaps not a very great evil, but it was _his_ greed that set all this in
>>motion. He's a long way from good, and not even neutral. He doesn't even
>>(apparently) have a claim to have been tempted or tricked by Saruman.
>>Lotho was already well on his own road when they crossed paths.
>
>
> Lotho in my view definitely *was* evil. His evil was petty, but to my mind
> far worse than many of the more powerful villians. He did not even have the
> Ring to blame it on, or Saruman's voice, at least in the beginning. As you
> said he was well on his own road.

How was he evil? By being stupid? By being petty? By wanting to
better himself and be wealthier, more influential, than he had been?
Stupidity does not equal evil.

Natman

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 9:49:30 PM4/20/05
to
On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 20:49:24 +0300, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

There is nothing resembling "unrestricted capitalism" or "free trade"
in Saruman setting up a dictatorship by force and confiscating
(taxing) the economy of the Shire to a standstill.

That's the context that is going on in this chapter.

Morgil

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 10:14:21 PM4/20/05
to

I didn't say there was. I was talking about Lotho, who started it all.
But Saruman has nothing to do with communism or taxation either. He
had no authority to put taxes on the hobbits. He was a plain thief.
And he was a foreign mercenary leader who came to enslave the people,
steal their recources and ruin their land. If anything, he was an
imperialist conqueror in most aspects.

> That's the context that is going on in this chapter.

Did you read the quotes? The poverty that Hob talks about was
caused by Lotho's actions, and Saruman only came into the
picture later.

Morgil

the softrat

unread,
Apr 20, 2005, 10:59:56 PM4/20/05
to
On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 16:38:39 -0500, Larry Swain
<thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

>Poppy cock! It isn't. Thanks for your illuminating comment though. If
>you want to discuss rather than declare, I'd invite the discussion. So
>what in your view makes LoTR a fantasy novel?

Gee, Larry, I always thought of it more as a railway time table.

(Jeez!)


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
"The POP3 server service depends on the SMTP server service,
which failed to start because of the following error: The
operation completed successfully." (Windows NT Server v3.51)

aelfwina

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 11:50:01 PM4/21/05
to

"Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> wrote in message
news:xZCdnepq45h...@rcn.net...

> How was he evil? By being stupid? By being petty? By wanting to better
> himself and be wealthier, more influential, than he had been? Stupidity
> does not equal evil.

No. But that does not mean stupid people can't *be* evil. It just increases
the likelihood that they will reap the results of their evil acts sooner
rather than later.
Lotho was evil because he allowed his pettiness and ambition to cause him to
do things which he knew would distress others. Granted much of the worst
damage did not come before Saruman arrived. But he had already brought Men
into the Shire and was using them to intimidate others well before that.
Wanting to be wealthier and more influential is not evil in itself, but
having that as your prime motivation for harming your neighbors *is*.
As to *why* Lotho was evil, perhaps there were reasons that made it
difficult for him--his parents, for example. But a reason is not an excuse.
Barbara
>


R. Dan Henry

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 1:26:33 PM4/21/05
to
On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 15:17:28 -0500, "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net>
wrote:

>I think the lie was in saying "that is not my doing". He wanted to plant
>seeds of despair in Frodo, so that when he had difficulties adjusting and
>recovering--as would have only been natural--Frodo would have felt it was no
>use trying to overcome them, as it had supposedly been "foreseen" he could
>not. I agree that he probably *did* foresee the problems Frodo would have,
>and that you are right in the failure of his ultimate foresight--for as you
>said, he would have gained both health and life in the West, something
>Saruman *could* not foresee, as it was unprecedented.
>But if Frodo had been able to discount Saruman's words, he *might* have been
>able eventually to regain his life in the Shire. It's an idea I've played
>with, anyway.

I don't think so. Frodo's spiritual stature is greater than Saruman's
at this point. Frodo comes back much changed, for better and for
worse. I think the worse is already bad enough to drive him West and
the better would prevent Saruman from having any say in that one way
or another.

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

JimboCat

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Apr 21, 2005, 2:08:47 PM4/21/05
to

aelfwina wrote:
> "Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> wrote in message
> news:xZCdnepq45h...@rcn.net...
>
> > How was he evil? By being stupid? By being petty? By wanting to
better
> > himself and be wealthier, more influential, than he had been?
Stupidity
> > does not equal evil.
>
> No. But that does not mean stupid people can't *be* evil. It just
increases
> the likelihood that they will reap the results of their evil acts
sooner
> rather than later.

Two entries from my .sig file:

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
stupidity."

And a riff on A.C. Clarke's "Clarke's Law" (which states that any
sufficiently advanced technology is indistiguishable from magic):

"Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from
malice." -- Vernon Schryver

If those were real axioms and not, essentially, jokes, it would give
credence to Larry's point. On the whole, however, I agree with you:
Lotho was evil, though in a small and petty (and stupid) way.

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
"While some fools seem to think that strength is the ability to
destroy and to defeat, strength is more importantly the ability to give
and
to aid." - Raven

Henriette

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 2:26:45 PM4/21/05
to
aelfwina wrote:
> "Henriette" <held...@hotmail.com> wrote in message

> > This "parochial" view of the world comes across to me as being very


> > unfair to the people involved and Rosie's (above quoted) words
added to
> > her: "You haven't hurried, have you?", makes it hard for me to like
> > her.
>
> I have always taken her response to be more in the mold of what Merry
spoke
> of in the Houses of Healing: using light words, when the feeling is
too
> deep--I find it a very *hobbity* response, if not exactly romantic.
Besides,
> Sam's in a hurry, and her parents and brothers are watching. It's
very clear
> she *has* been waiting for him, after all.

Rosie's words make clear that she is very hobbity/parochial. One
wonders if Sam, after all he has been through, has not outgrown this
narrow worldview, but we have no reason to think he minds. Quite the
contrary!

Henriette

Emma Pease

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 3:15:03 PM4/21/05
to

Well if the excerpt from the cut epilogue is correct, Rosie knew or
thought she knew when Sam had accomplished his mission and could come
home (March 25, a bit over 6 months after he left on Sept. 22) but he
took until the beginning of November to get back (over 7 months). In
other words he wasn't exactly rushing back.


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

Larry Swain

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 4:11:49 PM4/21/05
to

the softrat wrote:

> On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 16:38:39 -0500, Larry Swain
> <thes...@operamail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Poppy cock! It isn't. Thanks for your illuminating comment though. If
>>you want to discuss rather than declare, I'd invite the discussion. So
>>what in your view makes LoTR a fantasy novel?
>
>
> Gee, Larry, I always thought of it more as a railway time table.
>
> (Jeez!)
>

Oh come, its obviously a calendar!

Larry Swain

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 5:43:55 PM4/21/05
to

aelfwina wrote:
> "Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> wrote in message
> news:xZCdnepq45h...@rcn.net...
>
>
>>How was he evil? By being stupid? By being petty? By wanting to better
>>himself and be wealthier, more influential, than he had been? Stupidity
>>does not equal evil.
>
>
> No. But that does not mean stupid people can't *be* evil.

True, but I'm still asking why we think Lotho is evil. What
specifically can be laid at his door beyond making a good business deal?

It just increases
> the likelihood that they will reap the results of their evil acts sooner
> rather than later.
> Lotho was evil because he allowed his pettiness and ambition to cause him to
> do things which he knew would distress others.

But this is ill-defined, I think. In fact, Saruman's justification for
destroying the Shire is that Frodo and co. have distressed him! So if
this is what makes Lotho evil then surely Frodo and Gandalf are evil:
look at all the beings whom they have in fact distressed!


Granted much of the worst
> damage did not come before Saruman arrived. But he had already brought Men
> into the Shire and was using them to intimidate others well before that.

Ok. Nasty, but evil? The Dunlanders for example would say the same
about the Rohirrim, as would the people of Ghan buri Ghan. Are the
Riders evil?

> Wanting to be wealthier and more influential is not evil in itself, but
> having that as your prime motivation for harming your neighbors *is*.
> As to *why* Lotho was evil, perhaps there were reasons that made it
> difficult for him--his parents, for example. But a reason is not an excuse.

No, I'm not blaming Lobelia. While a thoroughly unlikeable being, she
was never really evil, or even a bad person. Strong, strong-willed,
very concerned with her own, but not evil for all that. So I don't
think one can blame Lobelia for Lotho's evil.

If Lotho is evil I think it has to go beyond these and other things
people have mentioned. In essence, at least in my view, Lotho is on his
way to becoming a smaller Saruman, himself a less lethal version of
Sauron. But Lotho's downward cycle is interrupted by two things: 1) he
can't control his ruffians who pretty much do as they please (The Boss
after all is soft hearted, these little people want some discipline etc
are probably not ideas coming from Lotho) and 2) the appearance of
Saruman himself. The real discomfort occurs after #2, before that the
ruffians are mostly just bullies who do Lotho's bidding, on occasion.
But Lotho didn't seem to have an overall plan or direction, had simply
been buying up property for a long time quietly, so at least in the
beginning was perfectly within his rights to send crops grown on his
land whereever he wanted. Anyway, while Lotho seems to have been a
petty person, I wouldn't say his evil was petty; just small, like a
hobbit imitating a wizard.

Count Menelvagor

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 9:11:29 PM4/21/05
to

Matthew Bladen wrote:
> In article <wcE7e.5814$303....@fe05.lga>, huanth...@netscape.net
> says...
>
> > I really don't understand the change in Wormtongue (to Worm).
Saruman's
> > change doesn't bother me, but why did the former counsellor of
Theoden
> > begin crawling?
>
> I'm reminded of what Theoden said to Wormtongue after Gandalf healed
> him. The exact quote escapes me, but the gist of it is "ere long your

> leechcraft would have had me walking on all fours like a dog." Those
> subjected to the whispered poisons of Saruman are eventually reduced
to
> shameful dependency and lose their free will and dignity, and what
> Wormtongue could do, Saruman could do with even more unpleasant
results.

essentially, in both cases saruman's victims are dehumanized. that's
the motif shared by the "walking on all fours" bit and the very name of
"wormtongue" (esp. when abbreviated to worm).

Natman

unread,
Apr 21, 2005, 10:32:54 PM4/21/05
to
On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 05:14:21 +0300, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
wrote:


Let me assure you that I certainly did read the quotes. I just didn't
assign them the same meaning you did. So I read them again, this time
from the book. Let me add in the parts you neglected to provide:

>"Seems he wanted to own everything himself, and then order other folk about.
>It soon came out that he already did own a sight more than was good for him;
>and he was always grabbing more"

The remainder of the sentence reads:

, though where he got the money was a mystery:

Of course *we* know where he got the money: Saruman.

>"But at the end o' last year he
>began sending away loads of stuff, not only leaf. Things began to get short,
>and winter coming on, too. Folk got angry, but he had his answer."

You neglected to quote the very next sentence:

"A lot of Men, ruffians mostly,came with great waggons, some to carry
off the goods south-away,and others to stay. And more came."

Again, clearly Saruman.

And to continue to quote the good Farmer Cotton, from the same speech:

"So things went from bad to worse. There wasn' t no smoke left, save
for the Men;and the Chief didn' t hold with beer, save for his Men,
and closed all the inns;and everything except Rules got shorter and
shorter, unless one could hide a bit of one' s own when the ruffians
went round gathering stuff up "for fair distribution": which meant
they got it and we didn't,"

"I don' t believe that fool of a Pimple's behind
all this. It' s Sharkey, I say.'

So the same character, in the same speech you so selectively "quoted"
specifically states that "Gathering and Sharing" is the cause of the
problem and that Saruman, not Lotho is behind it.

So let's not hear any more talk about how *I'm* quoting things out of
context.

>"The poverty that Hob talks about was
>caused by Lotho's actions, and Saruman only came into the
>picture later."

Did YOU read the quote? I'll repeat it:

"Well no, the year' s been good enough,' said Hob. 'We grows a lot of
food, but we don't rightly know what becomes of it. It's all these
"gatherers" and "sharers", I reckon, going round counting and
measuring and taking off to storage. They do more gathering than
sharing, and we never see most of the stuff again.' "

So the "poverty Hob talks about" is NOT caused by Lotho's actions.
Crops are good and the shortages are caused primarily, if not
entirely, by the "Gathering and Sharing" system.

Lotho went from being Saruman's puppet to being an empty figurehead
and was in fact *dead* at the time of Hob's quote. You can't be a
whole lot more ineffective than that. Saruman was the driving force
behind it all.

Saruman may not have been the *legitimate* head of the government of
the Shire at the time, but he was in fact running the government and
imposing taxes nevertheless. His agents were "gathering" the goods for
"sharing". As so often happens more gathering than sharing actually
occurred.

>"He had no authority to put taxes on the hobbits. He was a plain thief."

The line between the two activities is often exceedingly fine.


R. Dan Henry

unread,
Apr 22, 2005, 2:35:55 AM4/22/05
to

He wanted to own everything and tell everyone what to do. Pretty much
the same thing as Sauron, although he wasn't as ruthless, at least
yet. But he felt a need to be secretive about his acquisitions, which
suggests he knew he was behaving questionably, he must have had some
willingness to bring in the ruffians as enforcers, and he was willing
to ship enough materials out to create shortages in the Shire bad
enough to get noticed and create ill will.

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

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Apr 22, 2005, 2:35:53 AM4/22/05
to
On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 16:38:39 -0500, Larry Swain
<thes...@operamail.com> wrote:

>So making a good business deal is evil? I mean, sending most of the
>pipeweed crop to Saruman for a good price is hardly "evil". It might
>make hobbits a bit sore, but hardly evil.

How about when he starts shipping food and other goods in sufficient
quantities to create shortages in the Shire? And if he doesn't think
there is anything wrong with his business methods, why did he pursue
them in secret for so long? And given that he's living in a Catholic
world, Greed still counts as a sin.

>The true evil in this regard
>is the closing of the inns because the Chief (Saruman, not Lotho)
>doesn't hold with beer....now that, my friend, is evil!

No, "the Chief" (short for "Chief Shirriff") is Lotho. Saruman is
"Sharkey". Check the index: "Chief, the, III 277-99 (see also
Sackville-Baggins, Lotho)". Your page numbers may be different, but
the main thing is that the index reiterates the main text's equation
of the two names.


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

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Apr 22, 2005, 2:35:57 AM4/22/05
to
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 16:44:55 GMT, sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu
(Steuard Jensen) wrote:

>Quoth R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> in article
><33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com>:


>> Chapter of the Week: Book 6 Chapter 8 "The Scouring of the Shire"
>

>First, a discussion question of my own: what does everyone think was
>Tolkien's reason for including this chapter? A number of friends of
>mine have complained about just how long LotR continues after its
>climax on Mount Doom, and certainly the Scouring could feel like

>nothing but a minor hiccup after all that has gone before.

Some roll over and go to sleep after orgasm. Others cuddle. LOTR
cuddles.

>My question, then, is why Tolkien "surprised us" with Rosie as he did.
>Was it just that he didn't come up with Sam's love interest until he
>was nearly finished writing the book, or did he refrain from
>mentioning her earlier for a reason?

She's actually mentioned twice in Mount Doom, not long after the focus
switches from Frodo to Sam. During most of the book and especially in
the opening chapters, Frodo is the central figure and we really don't
see Sam except as their lives overlap. I think a "Sam's love interest"
scene would have been out of place in Book I and his reasons for not
mentioning it make sense. It wasn't relevant to the job at hand (and
mentioning Rosie without sounding reluctant to journey with Frodo
could have been difficult).

>> Discussion Question: Saruman doesn't seem to have equipped his men
>> very well at all, nor provided even basic tactical training. Was he
>> even interested in holding the Shire once the Fellowship hobbits
>> returned?
>
>I agree with the others who suggested that Sauron's men in the Shire
>weren't precisely his elite troops: if they'd shown promise as
>military men, they would have been kept for the assault on Rohan.

Yes, but real weapons would have helped. Once the Shire-folk were
roused, they were better armed.

>But
>on the other hand, I don't think that Saruman would have expected that
>four hobbits would have made much of a difference, even if they'd all
>become valiant warrior heroes. (Was he even aware that two of them
>_had_ taken part in major battles?) I suspect that like pretty much
>everyone else except Gandalf, he completely underestimated the
>strength hidden within hobbits in general; the notion of a Shire-wide
>uprising against his men was probably very difficult for him to
>imagine.

He doesn't seem surprised that they freed the Shire, merely petulant
that they didn't give him a bit more time to work his revenge. He only
shows surprise at Frodo's *wisdom* and *pity*; I think he must have
noticed that Pippin and Merry were large hobbits wearing war-gear with
confidence when their paths crossed before. And the Tooks had already
demonstrated that the hobbits weren't exactly helpless. And there were
others who would eventually notice: Dwarves, Dunadain, possibly even
Elves. Saruman had to know he'd be challenged within a few years and
probably expected that the Travelers would spark a revolt (although he
likely didn't count on Frodo's "kill no hobbits" policy helping to
reduce the long-term effects).

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

R. Dan Henry

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Apr 22, 2005, 2:35:56 AM4/22/05
to
On 15 Apr 2005 01:03:23 -0700, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:

>R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message news:
>
>> "Scouring" is a term frequently used to refer to the cleaning of
>> cookware, such as that Sam had to abandon in Mordor. Is the use of
>> this kitchen-related term simply happy chance or is Tolkien
>> deliberately selecting a word that reminds us of the food-centric
>> world of the average hobbit?
>
>According to my inherited old dictionary, apart from the 'cleaning of
>cookware', scouring in 'scouring the sea' also means cleaning it
>(chasing away pirates), but scouring a region means wandering about in
>it... I think the alliteration played a big part in JRRT's chosing the
>word 'scouring'.

Maybe. It is a perfectly good (if somewhat archaic) term for clearing
an area of undesirables. But there are many words he could have used.
"Sh" and "Sc" don't really alliterate, so I don't think that's it. My
idea that he chose "Scouring" because it has "hobbit-y" associations
is purely speculative, of course.

>Rosie's words: "Well, be off with you! If you've been looking after
>Mr. Frodo all this while, what d'you want to leave him for, as soon as
>things look dangerous?" must be amongst the most unjust in the all of
>the LOTR.

I wouldn't call it "unjust", just "ill-informed". As Sam realizes,
correcting her would take a lot of time they don't have just then.

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

R. Dan Henry

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Apr 22, 2005, 2:50:54 AM4/22/05
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On Sat, 16 Apr 2005 08:44:26 -0500, "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net>
wrote:

>"R. Dan Henry" <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message

>news:33gr519i295aiakks...@4ax.com...

>> Discussion Question: I recall awhile back some folk suggested Merry
>> and Pippin wouldn't have been ready to raise the Shire back when
>> Elrond wanted to send them home. What do you think? While their value
>> as members of the Fellowship is unquestionable, how would they have
>> fared if they had been around to deal with "the Chief" much earlier?
>
>I think if they had been sent home from Rivendell, they would at best have
>suffered Fatty's fate and ended up in the Lockholes, and at worst would have
>been killed. They simply did not have either the experience or the
>confidence to deal with Men at that point in time.
>On the other hand, I do not doubt that their brief experiences between the
>Old Forest and Rivendell would have made them at least *try*, as ill-fated
>as that might have turned out.

And I think that underestimating Hobbits didn't go out of fashion
after the War of the Ring. Bear in mind that if the wisdom of Elrond
had been heeded, they'd have had a chance to nip things in the bud.
The task would have been less difficult than the Scouring, with
Sharkey's forces already in control. Merry was already a good
organizer and observer and they would have been warned to watch for
trouble. Pippin would still have lacked maturity, but he'd really only
need to be able to convince the Thain to take action early. Combined,
the forces Tookland and Buckland could field could repel a force of
rag-tag ruffians expecting only to bully much smaller folk. They did
know something about dealing with such folk, you know.

>>Reaching
>> Bywater they find homes burnt out or abandoned, replaced with ugly new
>> houses. Trees have been removed and there is a smoking chimney up
>> towards Bag End.
>
>The first time I read this, I was outraged. How could JRRT have *done* that
>to the *Shire*!

He didn't. That was Saruman. And Lotho. And a few hangers-on.

>The moment when Pippin's righteous anger causes him to draw a sword and
>defend Frodo's honor always thrills me. He is here being a Knight in
>shining armor, brave, gallant, determined and fearless. You can just *see*
>his love for and pride in, his cousin blazing forth!

Yeah, it's a good moment for Pippin and really shows his growth (and
his original brash Tookishness, as well).

>I do think he had planned to leave the Shire, and leave it in ruins, before
>Gandalf had a chance to catch up with him. He never did truly understand
>Gandalf or his relationship with hobbits and the Shire.

Actually, I think if he didn't expect the hobbits to eventually rise
up (and I think he would have known his time was limited), he
certainly wouldn't have expected Gandalf to rescue his discarded
tools, which he no longer needed. If he's truly a victim of his own
propaganda, he'll have dismissed Gandalf as a no-show before even
considering the threat the returning hobbits may pose.

>> the names of Captains Meriadoc and Peregrin."
>
>Since the Shire has very little idea of military history, I wonder who
>thought to dub them "Captains"?

They've got enough of a notion to recognize that you have leaders in
battle. They've little enough military history of their own, but they
take pride in it, and they'll have more knowledge in the form of old
stories of non-hobbit heroes.

>> What do you find the most disturbing change in the Shire? Why?
>
>Well, the trees, definitely, and the tearing up of Bagshot Row, both of
>which just devastated me, at the idea that things would never be the same.
>But something which I began to find more sinister in my later readings was
>the closing down and destruction of the inns. In a society with no
>newspapers and no religious institutions such as churches, the inns served
>as the natural place to gather, socialize and exchange news and gossip.
>Closing them down is rather similar to modern day coups where the newspapers
>and TV stations are taken over or shut down.

Myself, it was the "orc talk" as Sam calls it, the suspicion and
collaboration among the Shire-folk. It's all bad, though.

>One thing I've always believed: when he said "Do not expect me to wish you
>health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing, I
>merely foretell" he was using his Voice, and basically cursing Frodo. In
>other words, he was lying again, and if Frodo had been a little bit more
>cynical he would have realized this.

I've said elsewhere why I don't believe this, but would also add:
Arwen foresaw Frodo's troubles before he went home. Was her gift also
a sinister suggestion?

>was. But that initial reaction of mine was enough to make me understand
>when I learned PJ was leaving it out of the films.

Because films, unlike books, have no purpose but the passing amusement
of the audience. Nobody learns anything from a good film.

Or maybe that's just one way to approach movie-making. Whatever.

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

Christopher Kreuzer

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Apr 22, 2005, 2:57:17 AM4/22/05
to
>> R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in message news:
>>
>>> "Scouring" is a term frequently used to refer to the cleaning of
>>> cookware, such as that Sam had to abandon in Mordor. Is the use of
>>> this kitchen-related term simply happy chance or is Tolkien
>>> deliberately selecting a word that reminds us of the food-centric
>>> world of the average hobbit?

Scouring is used, IMO, because it is a rough treatment that can damage
the material being cleaned. I've always thought of a scouring cloth as
being very harsh, scratchy material, maybe even wire wool, and you would
use it on metal pans and such, not on soft human flesh. Transferring
this to the Shire, we can see that the implications are twofold:

1) That the Scouring of the Shire was a short, sharp shock that caused
damage (hobbits died) but got rid of the oppressors.

2) The Shire and its hobbits are made of tough material (like the metal
pan), and are resistant and bounce back quickly and clean up the Shire
and soon (within a year or so) nearly everything is back to normal or
better than before (thanks to Galadriel's gift).

Christopher

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

Morgil

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Apr 22, 2005, 4:37:34 AM4/22/05
to
Natman wrote:
> On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 05:14:21 +0300, Morgil <more...@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
> Let me assure you that I certainly did read the quotes. I just didn't
> assign them the same meaning you did. So I read them again, this time
> from the book. Let me add in the parts you neglected to provide:
>
>
>>"Seems he wanted to own everything himself, and then order other folk about.
>>It soon came out that he already did own a sight more than was good for him;
>>and he was always grabbing more"
>
>
> The remainder of the sentence reads:
>
> , though where he got the money was a mystery:
>
> Of course *we* know where he got the money: Saruman.

And then the part that YOU left out:

"Of course he started with a lot of property in the Southfarthing
which he had from his dad; and it seems he’d been selling a lot
o’ the best leaf, and sending it away quietly for a year or two."

He got his money by practicing capitalism and free trade, as I said.

>>"But at the end o' last year he
>>began sending away loads of stuff, not only leaf. Things began to get short,
>>and winter coming on, too. Folk got angry, but he had his answer."
>
>
> You neglected to quote the very next sentence:
>
> "A lot of Men, ruffians mostly,came with great waggons, some to carry
> off the goods south-away,and others to stay. And more came."
>
> Again, clearly Saruman.

As requested by Lotho.

> And to continue to quote the good Farmer Cotton, from the same speech:
>
> "So things went from bad to worse. There wasn' t no smoke left, save
> for the Men;and the Chief didn' t hold with beer, save for his Men,
> and closed all the inns;and everything except Rules got shorter and
> shorter, unless one could hide a bit of one' s own when the ruffians
> went round gathering stuff up "for fair distribution": which meant
> they got it and we didn't,"

So things were short and then they got even shorter. But gathering
only effected those who were growing their own food, and as the
previous quote showed, Lotho had monopolised so much of the farming
industry that he could single-handedly cause a major shortage by
selling his products out the country. So how much of the present
shortage was caused by Lotho owning everything, and how much by the
ruffians stealing the rest? Who can tell.

> "I don' t believe that fool of a Pimple's behind
> all this. It' s Sharkey, I say.'
>
> So the same character, in the same speech you so selectively "quoted"
> specifically states that "Gathering and Sharing" is the cause of the
> problem and that Saruman, not Lotho is behind it.

That is not only selective, but dishonest quotation. He is NOT
refgering to shortages - he is talking about the deliberate
ruination of Shire's enviroment.

"If they want to make the Shire into a desert, they’re going the
right way about it. I don’t believe that fool of a Pimple’s behind


all this. It’s Sharkey, I say."

> So let's not hear any more talk about how *I'm* quoting things out of
> context.

Indeed.

>>"The poverty that Hob talks about was
>>caused by Lotho's actions, and Saruman only came into the
>>picture later."
>
>
> Did YOU read the quote? I'll repeat it:
>
> "Well no, the year' s been good enough,' said Hob. 'We grows a lot of
> food, but we don't rightly know what becomes of it. It's all these
> "gatherers" and "sharers", I reckon, going round counting and
> measuring and taking off to storage. They do more gathering than
> sharing, and we never see most of the stuff again.' "

Yes, but WHO grows the food? Independent farmers, or workers in
Lotho's fields?

> So the "poverty Hob talks about" is NOT caused by Lotho's actions.
> Crops are good and the shortages are caused primarily, if not
> entirely, by the "Gathering and Sharing" system.

As far as Hob knows anyway, but Hob sees only one section of the
situation, not the whole big picture. Question is - how much of
Shire's farmlands were owned by Lotho in the first place? We
know it was enough to cause an alarming shortage on its own.

> Lotho went from being Saruman's puppet to being an empty figurehead
> and was in fact *dead* at the time of Hob's quote. You can't be a
> whole lot more ineffective than that. Saruman was the driving force
> behind it all.
>
> Saruman may not have been the *legitimate* head of the government of
> the Shire at the time, but he was in fact running the government and
> imposing taxes nevertheless. His agents were "gathering" the goods for
> "sharing". As so often happens more gathering than sharing actually
> occurred.

As it was their only purpose to steal as much as possible, and
cause suffering for the people, that is hardly surprising.

>>"He had no authority to put taxes on the hobbits. He was a plain thief."
>
>
> The line between the two activities is often exceedingly fine.

Actually it is mostly quite simple. It is a question wheter
the taxes are commonly accepted by the people, or forced on
them from above.

Morgil

aelfwina

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Apr 22, 2005, 10:39:08 PM4/22/05
to

"Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> wrote in message
news:JpWdnVqQQa0...@rcn.net...

>
>
> aelfwina wrote:
>> "Larry Swain" <thes...@operamail.com> wrote in message
>> news:xZCdnepq45h...@rcn.net...
>>
>>
>>>How was he evil? By being stupid? By being petty? By wanting to better
>>>himself and be wealthier, more influential, than he had been? Stupidity
>>>does not equal evil.
>>
>>
>> No. But that does not mean stupid people can't *be* evil.
>
> True, but I'm still asking why we think Lotho is evil. What specifically
> can be laid at his door beyond making a good business deal?
>
> It just increases
>> the likelihood that they will reap the results of their evil acts sooner
>> rather than later.
>> Lotho was evil because he allowed his pettiness and ambition to cause him
>> to do things which he knew would distress others.
>
> But this is ill-defined, I think. In fact, Saruman's justification for
> destroying the Shire is that Frodo and co. have distressed him! So if
> this is what makes Lotho evil then surely Frodo and Gandalf are evil: look
> at all the beings whom they have in fact distressed!
>
The differences are in the motives for causing the distress. After all a
doctor who lances a boil is causing distress, but it is for a good reason. A
policeman who arrests a criminal causes him distress, also for a good
reason. Gandalf and Frodo caused distress to Sauron, for a very good reason.
Lotho was causing the distress--in full knowledge that he did so--because he
wanted to puff himself up and gain power over others. In the case of
certain hobbits whom he thought might have slighted him for one reason or
another, he very likely even took pleasure in their distress (though that is
from inference only and is nowhere stated specifically, so I won't *insist*
on it).


>
>
>
> Granted much of the worst
>> damage did not come before Saruman arrived. But he had already brought
>> Men into the Shire and was using them to intimidate others well before
>> that.
>
> Ok. Nasty, but evil? The Dunlanders for example would say the same about
> the Rohirrim, as would the people of Ghan buri Ghan. Are the Riders evil?

Well, it's within the realm of possibility for individuals, but the
Dunlanders were not facing beings twice their size, and were moreover,
equipped to defend themselves. As far as Ghan buri Ghan goes it was
acknowledged that the Rohirrim were in the wrong and the practice was put a
stop to.


>
>> Wanting to be wealthier and more influential is not evil in itself, but
>> having that as your prime motivation for harming your neighbors *is*.
>> As to *why* Lotho was evil, perhaps there were reasons that made it
>> difficult for him--his parents, for example. But a reason is not an
>> excuse.
>
> No, I'm not blaming Lobelia. While a thoroughly unlikeable being, she was
> never really evil, or even a bad person. Strong, strong-willed, very
> concerned with her own, but not evil for all that. So I don't think one
> can blame Lobelia for Lotho's evil.
>
> If Lotho is evil I think it has to go beyond these and other things people
> have mentioned. In essence, at least in my view, Lotho is on his way to
> becoming a smaller Saruman, himself a less lethal version of Sauron. But
> Lotho's downward cycle is interrupted by two things: 1) he can't control
> his ruffians who pretty much do as they please (The Boss after all is soft
> hearted, these little people want some discipline etc are probably not
> ideas coming from Lotho) and 2) the appearance of Saruman himself. The
> real discomfort occurs after #2, before that the ruffians are mostly just
> bullies who do Lotho's bidding, on occasion.

In other words he encourages them to bully and intimidate his neighbors.
Wouldn't you call that evil?

> But Lotho didn't seem to have an overall plan or direction, had simply
> been buying up property for a long time quietly, so at least in the
> beginning was perfectly within his rights to send crops grown on his land
> whereever he wanted.

The same could be said of many who have used their positions to make profits
at the expense of others. Can you say "Enron"? And I would call that evil.
If they did not know it was wrong, why keep it quiet?

Anyway, while Lotho seems to have been a
> petty person, I wouldn't say his evil was petty; just small, like a hobbit
> imitating a wizard.

And the hobbit was imitating an evil wizard.
I don't say there are not degrees of evil. Certainly Morgoth was more
powerful (and thus did more evil) than Sauron; and it goes downhill from
there.
But anytime malice is involved, evil is involved, whether it is no more than
repeating a vicious story about someone you dislike or as serious as
genocide, evil is evil.
And all of us have those seeds.
But the ones who I call evil are those who deliberately encourage those
seeds to sprout within themselves rather than make the effort to weed them
out. IMHO.
Barbara
>


Henriette

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Apr 22, 2005, 6:55:55 AM4/22/05