CotW: LotR Bk 5, Ch 2: "The Passing of the Grey Company"

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Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Chapter of the Week
The Lord of the Rings (The Return of the King)
Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company"

Contents of this article:
0. Introduction.
1. Summary.
2. The Debate of Eowyn and Aragorn.
3. Baldor and the Paths of the Dead.
4. Numbered notes, questions and wisecracks.

0. Introduction

This is my favourite chapter in the whole book. It brings
together and advances several strands of plot, starts a few of
its own, and contains some wonderful character development.
It has a beautiful sort of set-piece (the debate of Eowyn and
Aragorn) and some very creepy, otherworldly moments on the Paths
of the Dead.

Interestingly, Tolkien seems to have stalled for a long
time before writing this chapter. He says in the Introduction
to the Second Edition that by the end of 1942, he had completed
Book Three, and Book Five chapters I and III (i.e., skipping
this one); but that then "foresight had failed" and he set the
whole work aside for over a year. When he came back to writing
LotR, he first tackled Book Four, so presumably it was quite a
long time before he had a clear idea of how to write this chapter.

I have read that Tolkien originally intended Aragorn to
marry Eowyn, but later changed his mind. This would have had a
major impact on this chapter. I haven't read the relevant
passages from the _History of Middle-earth_, so anyone who has
is very welcome to tell us more. Michele Fry gave us some
details in article <4L8LXSAG...@sassoonery.demon.co.uk>...
is there any more?

1. Summary

The action picks up on Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry,
and the Rohirrim at the point where they were left at the end of
Book Three. The group receives some mysterious, stolid
newcomers: the Dunedain, Aragorn's kinsmen from the North [see
note 1], along with Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir [2].
Aragorn is given a standard (i.e. a flag on a pole) from "the
Lady of Rivendell" [3] [4] [5]. The whole group then goes to
Helm's Deep, where Merry pledges his allegiance to Theoden [6]
and Aragorn is mysteriously absent for a while.

As the Rohirrim are preparing to ride to Dunharrow through
the hills, Aragorn reappears and announces that he must go more
quickly to Dunharrow and take the Paths of the Dead as soon as
he gets there. Theoden is dismayed, but he, the Rohirrim, and
Merry set forth, leaving the others at Helm's Deep. We see
Theoden and company no more in this chapter.

Aragorn then explains his decision to Legolas and Gimli.
He says he has contended with Sauron via the Palantir and has
wrested it to his control [7]. As a result, he now knows that
there is "a grave peril... coming unlooked-for upon Gondor from
the South" that must be dealt with. In order to deal with that
peril, he must take the Paths of the Dead. Aragorn, Legolas,
Gimli, Elladan, Elrohir and the Dunedain now ride quickly to
Dunharrow over the plain.

At Dunharrow, Aragorn deals gently with a lovesick Eowyn
[see Section 2 below], and then takes his companions through the
Paths of the Dead [8] [9], that lead under the White Mountains
to the South [9a]. On the way, they pick up some unearthly new
fellow travellers: a group of dead soldiers, cursed thousands
of years ago by Isildur for breaking an oath to fight Sauron
with him [10] [11]. They encounter the body of someone who
tried to pass through the Paths of the Dead before [see Section
3 below]. Aragorn summons the Dead to the Stone of Erech, the
place where they originally swore their oath, and they continue
their underground journey [12].

The travellers emerge aboveground again on the south side
of the White Mountains [13] [14]. At the Stone of Erech [15],
Aragorn unfurls his standard and strikes an agreement with the
Dead in which they pledge "to fulfill [their] oath and have
peace"; that is, to help him defeat Sauron now. The group then
thunders down from the mountains toward Pelargir, not to be seen
again for several more chapters.

2. The Debate of Eowyn and Aragorn

This beautiful passage is a kind of Tolkien set-piece:
a romantically-charged debate between a male character and a
female character, about some issue of greater import than just
the romance. Tolkien uses this device at least three more times
that I can think of: the debate between Eowyn and Faramir in
RotK Book 6, chapter V, "The Steward and the King"; the last
discussion between Aragorn and Arwen, in RotK Appendix A part
1(v); and the "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth", or "Colloquy of
Finrod and Andreth", published in Christopher Tolkien's series
_The History of Middle-Earth_, in book X, _Morgoth's Ring_. [16]

In all of these debates but one, the romance is between the
two characters having the debate (the exception is that Andreth
is in love not with Finrod, but with Finrod's brother Aegnor).
All of the debates but one end in sadness and tears for the
female character (the exception is the debate between Eowyn and
Faramir). The debate in this chapter is probably the first one
composed, since the others in LotR appear later, and Christopher
Tolkien writes that the Athrabeth was composed after LotR.
(Corrections welcome!)

In this debate, Eowyn at first tries to dissuade Aragorn
from taking the Paths of the Dead, believing it to be certain
death for him and his companions. She then tries to convince
him to at least take her with them. All the way along, she is
revealing to Aragorn more and more her love for him, and stops
just short of declaring it openly. There are some memorable
lines in which she reveals her bitterness about always being
left behind, and her fear of "a cage". The debate ends with
Aragorn leaving with his group, and Eowyn in tears.

There are really three parts to the debate: at the supper
table, at the tents at night, and the next morning. I could go
on and on, but let me just point out three aspects of the debate.

(a) The names with which Aragorn and Eowyn address each other.
They begin by addressing each other formally as "Lord" and
"Lady". However, once Eowyn is shaken by the news that Aragorn
is to take the Paths, she starts addressing him more intimately,
as "Aragorn". Aragorn only once calls Eowyn "Eowyn", presumably
doing it to see whether playing the part of a friend will help
change her mind. But Eowyn, possibly misinterpreting, responds
with a touch on his arm, becoming even more intimate. Therefore
Aragorn retreats into calling her "Lady", and maintains that for
the rest of the debate.

(b) The pronouns with which they address each other. Aragorn
always refers to Eowyn with the pronoun "you". Eowyn, by the
end of the second part of the debate, is referring to Aragorn
with the pronoun "thou/thee", which she maintains for the rest
of the debate. "Thou" and "thee" are not used in most dialects
of modern English, but Tolkien writes in Appendix F, section II
("On Translation"), footnote 1, that he uses the "you"/"thou"
distinction to signify the "normal" form and the "familiar"
form, respectively, between men and women in the Westron
language. I suspect he is referring specifically to this
passage. Thus, Eowyn is referring to Aragorn intimately, while
Aragorn is still trying to maintain formality between them.
This is turned around beautifully later (as "Belba Grubb"
pointed out in RABT a few weeks ago), in Book Six, Chapter VI
("Many Partings"), when Eowyn has found happiness with Faramir,
and seeks Aragorn's best wishes. Aragorn finally refers to her
as "thee" in giving them.

(c) The use of the "shall"/"will" distinction. In the English
spoken in the UK up until at least Tolkien's time, there are two
ways of using the auxiliary verbs "shall" and "will" about
future events. Basically, when one is merely _predicting_
future events, one uses the following conjugation:
I shall we shall
thou wilt you will
he will they will
When one is asserting that someone will take action to _ensure_
that the future events happen, one uses the opposite conjugation:
I will we will
thou shalt you shall
he shall they shall
(There are some exceptions to this and fine points of usage of
"shall"/"will" which I have never been able to comprehend, since
most people that I know have never employed this usage.) This
usage is employed in Shakespeare and the King James Bible, but
mostly died out in North America before about 1900, and is dying
out in the UK now as well, as far as I understand.

Thus, for example, here are the last six utterances of the
debate, and a sort of pseudo-translation of them:
Eowyn: "Aragorn, wilt thou go?" ("Is it the case, my dearest
Aragorn, that you will go?")
Aragorn: "I will." ("Not only is it the case, I will make it so.")
Eowyn: "Then wilt thou not let me ride with this company [...]?"
("Is it the case, my dearest, that you will not take me along?")
Aragorn: "I will not, lady. [...]" ("Not only is it the case,
it is my will that you not come along; and I prefer to talk to
you here formally as a lady, not as an intimate.")
Eowyn: "I beg thee!" ("I beg you, my dearest.")
Aragorn: "Nay, lady." ("No, and let me help you regain the
stature that you deserve and that is appropriate to the
situation.")

3. Baldor and the Paths of the Dead.

The finding of the skeleton in the Paths of the Dead is a
supremely creepy moment, but Tolkien did devise a backstory for
it. It appears in the next chapter, "The Muster of Rohan", and
is briefly restated with a bit of different emphasis in Appendix
A, part II.

Baldor was the eldest son of Brego, who was the son of
Eorl, the first King of Rohan. Thus Brego was the second king,
and Baldor should have been the third king. But once upon a
time, Brego and Baldor went up to the entrance of the Paths of
the Dead, and encountered the last living descendent of the
men cursed by Isildur, just at the moment that that descendent
himself died. Baldor was presumably fascinated by this; later,
at a banquet, he swore an oath that he would tread the Paths of
the Dead. (A scene straight out of Norse sagas.)

Baldor went in and never came out again, and so Baldor's
younger brother Aldor became the third King of Rohan. No one
found Baldor's body until Aragorn and company find it in this
chapter, now a skeleton in full armour (the word "harness" is
used in the description in one of its old senses, to refer to a
full suit of armour). It's interesting that Aragorn immediately
knows who it is.

How do we know that he knows who it is? Well, Baldor
should have been the third king, and should have died above
ground, and therefore should have been the third body buried in
the first line of burial mounds of the kings of Rohan -- those
mounds covered with _simbelmyne_ illustrated so beautifully in
the TTT movie. But he wasn't, and he didn't, and so Aragorn
says when he gazes at the body in this chapter:

"Hither shall the flowers of _simbelmyne_ come never unto
world's end.... Nine mounds and seven there are now green
with grass, and through all the long years he has lain at the
door that he could not unlock."

It's characteristic of Tolkien that what would become a
complete grade-B fantasy novel in the hands of a lesser writer
[17], is sketched out in a few paragraphs as a compelling
explanation of a single moment, a moment that was itself
inserted only to heighten mood.

4. Numbered notes, questions and wisecracks

[1] The Dunedain are a bit of an unsolved riddle. Where do they
live? Do they have wives and children? Where do the wives
and children live? How do they make money? Does Elrond
support them all on _miruvor_ and good wishes? Or do they
work part-time as bartenders and tobacco-pickers, between gigs
as doughty, dour-handed warriors?

[2] The name "The Grey Company" refers to this company of
Dunedain, but it's not clear whether this is their usual name.
Certainly it is the name used for them by Galadriel; she's the
one who predicted their arrival in the poem sent to Aragorn by
Gandalf in the chapter "The White Rider", and Legolas and
Gimli presume in this chapter that she is the one who summoned
them by sending word to Rivendell. (How does she send word,
by the way? By mental message, by elf, by eagle, ...?) By
the end of the chapter, I guess by metonymy or synechdoche or
one of those things, the whole bunch including Aragorn, Gimli,
Legolas and the Els are referred to as "the Grey Company".

[3] There are several references to Aragorn's love affair with
Arwen in this chapter, but I missed them all on first reading.
Did anyone pick them up in this chapter on first reading?
Was this the first place you realized it was serious?

[4] Why is it Halbarad, and not one of Arwen's brothers, who
gives Arwen's standard to Aragorn?

[5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?

[6] Here we get one of the first points of contrast between
Denethor and Theoden, in the differing setup to, and reactions
to (resp.) Pippin's pledge of allegiance in the previous
chapter, and Merry's pledge in this chapter. Pippin pledges
allegiance to Denethor in order to show his gratitude to
Boromir. Merry pledges allegiance to Theoden just because he
feels love and loyalty for him. Denethor reacts with a kind
of cold smile, and immediately holds Pippin to a formal oath.
Theoden is genuinely moved and accepts Merry's fealty with
simple warmth and a simple formulaic phrase. Probably the
subject of many an essay in Fantasy and Science Fiction
courses over the years.

[7] This is the chapter where Aragorn really starts to get
"magical" results out of his claim to the Kingship. He is
able to assert control over the Palantir, he realizes he may
be the dude mentioned in the old prophecy about the Dead, and
he is able to get the Dead on his side because of it.

[8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow
any relation of the men that became the Dead?

[9] If the horses of the Rohirrim are so great, then why is it
the horses of the Dunedain that are led more easily into the
Paths? And what are the words that Legolas speaks to Arod the
horse that allow him to be led into the Paths? Is it a magic
spell?

[9a] (oops) Underground journeys are usually perilous in JRRT's
Middle-earth stories: there are the journeys under the Misty
Mountains and through the Lonely Mountain in _The Hobbit_,
and the journeys through Moria and Shelob's lair elsewhere in
LOTR. This is the only one in the two books that doesn't
include hobbits, and the only one that seems not to involve
any direct physical danger to the participants -- here the
danger is psychological. I can't remember any particular
underground journeys in _The Silmarillion_, except Tuor's
brief passage through the Cirith Ninniach. Anyone?

[10] Who are the Dead anyway? I mean, what were they called
before they got dead and became the Dead? Do we ever find out?

[11] Why did Tolkien make Isildur, more closely associated with
the North, into the one who got the Dead-to-be to swear their
oath, and the one who cursed them? Why not Anarion of the
south-kingdom, or for that matter Elendil himself?

[12] We get something unusual in this chapter: for a long way,
we are seeing the story through Gimli's eyes. This was not
even done in chapters like "The Departure of Boromir" that
were completely hobbit-free. Why does Tolkien do this?

[13] When they come out of the Paths into the deep ravine
leading to the Morthond Vale, the sky is dark above them
although it is still daytime. I suppose this is based on
something that, as far as I know, is a fallacy: that if you
look up at the daytime sky from the bottom of a well, you will
see stars. Of course, it doesn't matter much if it is
fallacious, since even if Tolkien had known it's fallacious,
he might still have used the idea. In fact I think he uses it
somewhere else, but I can't remember where; does anyone else
remember?

[14] I love the image: "Legolas turning to speak to Gimli looked
back and the Dwarf saw before his face the glitter in the
Elf's bright eyes." Gimli dares not look back himself.

[15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
from Numenor to set at Erech? As ballast? Or did his
granddad Amandil say to him "Isildur, I have this feeling
you're gonna need a big round black stone over there. Take
one along"?

[16] I know of another fictional debate that strongly reminds me
of Tolkien's male/female debates: the debate between Jon and
Laurie on Mars in Alan Moore's classic 1986 comic _Watchmen_.
That's a different medium entirely, but now that I think of
it, I wonder whether Moore was at all inspired by Tolkien in
writing that episode.

[17] Actually, in researching this article, I came across some
bad slash fiction about Baldor and whoever was the chieftain
of the Dunedain at the time... I mean, how desperate can you
get in finding themes for slash...

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

Jens Kilian

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Dec 6, 2004, 12:41:29 PM12/6/04
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m...@privacy.net (Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) writes:

[A very nice summary!]


> [1] The Dunedain are a bit of an unsolved riddle. Where do they
> live? Do they have wives and children? Where do the wives
> and children live? How do they make money? Does Elrond
> support them all on _miruvor_ and good wishes? Or do they
> work part-time as bartenders and tobacco-pickers, between gigs
> as doughty, dour-handed warriors?

We know that they have wives and children, or at least <pedantic>that *one*
of them, namely Arathorn, had a wife and at least one child</pedantic>.
They wouldn't need much money, since they couldn't spend it anyway (except
for beer and pipeweed in Bree :-). They may be at the hunter-gatherer stage
of existence, for all we're told.

> [4] Why is it Halbarad, and not one of Arwen's brothers, who
> gives Arwen's standard to Aragorn?

You never had a sister, right? ;-)

> [5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
> magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?

It bears the Royal Arms of Gondor. Whoever uses it had better have the right
to use them, or else.

> [8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow
> any relation of the men that became the Dead?

I don't think so; it's quite clear that the Pukel-men are Druedain, and those
had quite distinctive racial characteristics. The Dead are not described as
short and squat, IIRC.

> [9a] (oops) Underground journeys are usually perilous in JRRT's
> Middle-earth stories: there are the journeys under the Misty
> Mountains and through the Lonely Mountain in _The Hobbit_,
> and the journeys through Moria and Shelob's lair elsewhere in
> LOTR. This is the only one in the two books that doesn't
> include hobbits, and the only one that seems not to involve
> any direct physical danger to the participants -- here the
> danger is psychological. I can't remember any particular
> underground journeys in _The Silmarillion_, except Tuor's
> brief passage through the Cirith Ninniach. Anyone?

Tuor's entrance into Gondolin (in _UT_).

> [13] When they come out of the Paths into the deep ravine
> leading to the Morthond Vale, the sky is dark above them
> although it is still daytime. I suppose this is based on
> something that, as far as I know, is a fallacy: that if you
> look up at the daytime sky from the bottom of a well, you will
> see stars. Of course, it doesn't matter much if it is
> fallacious, since even if Tolkien had known it's fallacious,
> he might still have used the idea. In fact I think he uses it
> somewhere else, but I can't remember where; does anyone else
> remember?

Kheled-zaram also shows (mirrored) stars in the daytime.

--
mailto:j...@acm.org As the air to a bird, or the sea to a fish,
http://www.bawue.de/~jjk/ so is contempt to the contemptible. [Blake]

Raven

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Dec 6, 2004, 5:57:37 PM12/6/04
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"Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message" <m...@privacy.net> skrev i
en meddelelse news:31i81lF...@individual.net...

> [8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow
> any relation of the men that became the Dead?

Like Jens Kilian, I get the impression that the Púkel-men were wrought by
Drúedain, relatives to the folk of Ghân-buri-Ghân, the wild woses. For one
thing, Merry is strongly reminded of the Púkel-men when he sees Ghân in the
chapter The Ride of the Rohirrim. Of course this is only evidence that the
models were Drúedain, not proof that the craftsmen were. But we know from
UT that the Drúedain were good sculptors. As for the Dead...

> [10] Who are the Dead anyway? I mean, what were they called
> before they got dead and became the Dead? Do we ever find out?

...they were apparently related rather to the Dunlendings.

> [15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
> from Numenor to set at Erech? As ballast? Or did his
> granddad Amandil say to him "Isildur, I have this feeling
> you're gonna need a big round black stone over there. Take
> one along"?

I would presume to guess neither. Perhaps it had some important
significance to the last faithful Dúnedain of Númenor. This significance
was then later forgotten, which is a common enough theme in these books:
ruins of a forgotten folk, ancient stone figures slowly weathering away.
But it was given a new significance as the place where the folk of the White
Mountains swore their oath, which they broke, and only by going forth from
that trysting-place to uphold their oath could they find release.
But it must have been a large and sturdy ship that carried it, and strong
and sturdy men with strong and sturdy tools loading and unloading it. It
was half buried, yet man-high. That implies a radius of two meters. Assume
a density of between 2.0 (rock is rarely that lightweight) and 3.5 (heavy
end for silicates) times that of water, and you get a stone weighing between
67 and 117 tonnes. Did they hire Sisyphos to roll it from the shore up to
the hill-top at Erech? He would have the experience, I reckon. Not that I
would put it past the Dúnedain of Númenor, of course. Stone age people,
ignorant barbarians in comparison, handled equally large stones, though not
on ocean-going ships that could survive fierce tempests.

Corbeau.


Michelle J. Haines

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Dec 6, 2004, 6:12:17 PM12/6/04
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In article <31i81lF...@individual.net>, m...@privacy.net says...

> In fact I think he uses it
> somewhere else, but I can't remember where; does anyone else
> remember?

The crown of stars in Mirrormere, I think.

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

AC

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Dec 7, 2004, 1:48:42 AM12/7/04
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Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:

<snip very excellent and edifying synopsis>

> [1] The Dunedain are a bit of an unsolved riddle. Where do they
> live? Do they have wives and children? Where do the wives
> and children live? How do they make money? Does Elrond
> support them all on _miruvor_ and good wishes? Or do they
> work part-time as bartenders and tobacco-pickers, between gigs
> as doughty, dour-handed warriors?

Well they obviously no longer live as the Dunedain of Gondor, that much
is certain. It seems pretty clear that the men, at least, spend a good
chunk of their lives wandering through Eriador, probably not aimlessly,
but rather in pursuit of Sauron's servants.

I have a gut feeling that they might live as the Edain did in Beleriand,
in small, self-sufficient settlements. I don't think their numbers were
great enough to support any kind of real economy, but obviously they
must have had some sort of income to support a pint or two in places
like Bree. I can't believe that they, a proud people, would allow
Elrond to bankroll them, and judging by the frosty treatment Aragorn
gets at the Prancing Pony, I can't imagine they get paid to fight off
orcs and bandits. Maybe they do some trapping, sell fur and such, while
remaining largely self-sufficient.


<snip>

>
> [3] There are several references to Aragorn's love affair with
> Arwen in this chapter, but I missed them all on first reading.
> Did anyone pick them up in this chapter on first reading?
> Was this the first place you realized it was serious?

To be honest, on my first reading, I didn't really understand that point
until, well, after the defeat of Sauron.

>
> [4] Why is it Halbarad, and not one of Arwen's brothers, who
> gives Arwen's standard to Aragorn?

Closer kin, maybe?

>
> [5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
> magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?

I don't see ay evidence of it being enchanted. I think it's just a very
nice standard.

>
> [6] Here we get one of the first points of contrast between
> Denethor and Theoden, in the differing setup to, and reactions
> to (resp.) Pippin's pledge of allegiance in the previous
> chapter, and Merry's pledge in this chapter. Pippin pledges
> allegiance to Denethor in order to show his gratitude to
> Boromir. Merry pledges allegiance to Theoden just because he
> feels love and loyalty for him. Denethor reacts with a kind
> of cold smile, and immediately holds Pippin to a formal oath.
> Theoden is genuinely moved and accepts Merry's fealty with
> simple warmth and a simple formulaic phrase. Probably the
> subject of many an essay in Fantasy and Science Fiction
> courses over the years.

I think Theoden, like Aragorn, is a sort of idealized king; a gracious,
kind-hearted paternal figure. To paraphrase what I said about the last
chapter, Theoden (and Aragorn) are the kinds of kings that we would like
there to be, and Denethor is the kind of king I expect most real ones
were like; proud, arrogant and jealously guarding their position.

>
> [7] This is the chapter where Aragorn really starts to get
> "magical" results out of his claim to the Kingship. He is
> able to assert control over the Palantir, he realizes he may
> be the dude mentioned in the old prophecy about the Dead, and
> he is able to get the Dead on his side because of it.
>
> [8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow
> any relation of the men that became the Dead?

No, I don't think so. When we meet Ghan-buri-ghan, I think the point is
made that the resemblance is quite strong. The Pukel-men were not
representations of the ancestors of the Dunlendings (who are, as I
recall, the descendants of the Men who lived in that part of the world
during the Second Age), but of the Druedain.

>
> [9] If the horses of the Rohirrim are so great, then why is it
> the horses of the Dunedain that are led more easily into the
> Paths? And what are the words that Legolas speaks to Arod the
> horse that allow him to be led into the Paths? Is it a magic
> spell?

Well, I would imagine that the Rohirrim don't breed horses to withstand
wraiths and other undead. I think the Dunedain would probably have far
more interest in that department.

>
> [9a] (oops) Underground journeys are usually perilous in JRRT's
> Middle-earth stories: there are the journeys under the Misty
> Mountains and through the Lonely Mountain in _The Hobbit_,
> and the journeys through Moria and Shelob's lair elsewhere in
> LOTR. This is the only one in the two books that doesn't
> include hobbits, and the only one that seems not to involve
> any direct physical danger to the participants -- here the
> danger is psychological. I can't remember any particular
> underground journeys in _The Silmarillion_, except Tuor's
> brief passage through the Cirith Ninniach. Anyone?

That's the only one I can recall, unless you count Beren and Luthien's
little foray into Thangorodrim.

>
> [10] Who are the Dead anyway? I mean, what were they called
> before they got dead and became the Dead? Do we ever find out?

They are akin to the Dunlendings, as I recall.

>
> [11] Why did Tolkien make Isildur, more closely associated with
> the North, into the one who got the Dead-to-be to swear their
> oath, and the one who cursed them? Why not Anarion of the
> south-kingdom, or for that matter Elendil himself?

Isildur was the elder son, and that sort of primogeniture seems quite
important among the Dunedain. If this was a representation of real
history, I would wonder whether the whole thing was concocted to justify
Aragorn's claim to the throne of Gondor (oh that Anarion guy, yeah he
was alright, but Isildur, now there was a king).

>
> [12] We get something unusual in this chapter: for a long way,
> we are seeing the story through Gimli's eyes. This was not
> even done in chapters like "The Departure of Boromir" that
> were completely hobbit-free. Why does Tolkien do this?

I think it's likely because Gimli is, next to the Hobbits, the closest
to the level of the reader. Besides, when Gimli admits his fear, you
*know* the Paths of the Dead are a very scary place. Aragorn's all
tough and confident, and Legolas was like "Dead, pah, they don't mean
nothing to me!"

>
> [13] When they come out of the Paths into the deep ravine
> leading to the Morthond Vale, the sky is dark above them
> although it is still daytime. I suppose this is based on
> something that, as far as I know, is a fallacy: that if you
> look up at the daytime sky from the bottom of a well, you will
> see stars. Of course, it doesn't matter much if it is
> fallacious, since even if Tolkien had known it's fallacious,
> he might still have used the idea. In fact I think he uses it
> somewhere else, but I can't remember where; does anyone else
> remember?

Well there's that little pool beyond Moria which I can't remember the
name of right now.

>
> [14] I love the image: "Legolas turning to speak to Gimli looked
> back and the Dwarf saw before his face the glitter in the
> Elf's bright eyes." Gimli dares not look back himself.
>
> [15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
> from Numenor to set at Erech? As ballast? Or did his
> granddad Amandil say to him "Isildur, I have this feeling
> you're gonna need a big round black stone over there. Take
> one along"?

It obviously must have been of some importance. It's one of those neat
details that Tolkien puts in his stories that add texture and the
feeling of deep history, without even having to explain what the devil
it really is. In fact, it seems like a lot of the history of the
Numenoreans in Middle Earth has its seeds in cool sounding catch phrases
like "seven stars", etc.

<snip>

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

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

Tar-Elenion

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Dec 7, 2004, 2:24:52 AM12/7/04
to
> 3. Baldor and the Paths of the Dead.
>
> The finding of the skeleton in the Paths of the Dead is a
> supremely creepy moment, but Tolkien did devise a backstory for
> it. It appears in the next chapter, "The Muster of Rohan", and
> is briefly restated with a bit of different emphasis in Appendix
> A, part II.
>
<snip>

>
> Baldor went in and never came out again, and so Baldor's
> younger brother Aldor became the third King of Rohan. No one
> found Baldor's body until Aragorn and company find it in this
> chapter, now a skeleton in full armour (the word "harness" is
> used in the description in one of its old senses, to refer to a
> full suit of armour). It's interesting that Aragorn immediately
> knows who it is.
>

As a side note or perhaps a bit of trivia, the skeleton rest before a
"stony door closed fast". In VT 42 a published note (Note 6, Rivers and
Beacon-hills of Gondor) has it that the door was probably "the entrance
to an evil temple hall" accounting for its "special horror".

<snip>

> [1] The Dunedain are a bit of an unsolved riddle. Where do they
> live? Do they have wives and children? Where do the wives
> and children live? How do they make money? Does Elrond
> support them all on _miruvor_ and good wishes? Or do they
> work part-time as bartenders and tobacco-pickers, between gigs
> as doughty, dour-handed warriors?

At least for the first question David Salo has mentioned a note in the
Marquette Archives that says the Dunedain dwelt in The Angle, south of
Rivendell, between the Bruinen and the Mitheithel.
<snip>

--
Tar-Elenion

He is a warrior, and a spirit of wrath. In every
stroke that he deals he sees the Enemy who long
ago did thee this hurt.

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 7, 2004, 12:49:05 PM12/7/04
to
In message <news:Mz5td.427$CI6...@news.get2net.dk>
"Raven" <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> enriched us
with:
>
> "Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message" <m...@privacy.net>
> skrev i en meddelelse news:31i81lF...@individual.net...
>>
>> [8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow
>> any relation of the men that became the Dead?
>
> Like Jens Kilian, I get the impression that the Púkel-men were
> wrought by Drúedain, relatives to the folk of Ghân-buri-Ghân, the
> wild woses.

I think that the fact that they live in the Druadan Forest is a dead
giveaway ;-)

And anyway this is explained in details in UT 4,I 'The Drúedain':

" The 'Púkel-men' occupied the White Mountains (on both
sides) in the First Age. When the occupation of the
coastlands by the Númenóreans began in the Second Age they
survived in the mountains of the promontory [of Andrast],
which was never occupied by the Númenóreans. Another
remnant survived at the eastern end of the range [in
Anórien]. At the end of the Third Age the latter, much
reduced in numbers, were believed to be the only
survivors; hence the other region was called "the Old
Púkel-wilderness" (Drúwaith laur). It remained a
'wilderness' and was not inhabited by Men of Gondor or of
Rohan, and was seldom entered by any of them; but Men of
the Anfalas believed that some of the old "Wild Men" still
lived there secretly.[13]
But in Rohan the identity of the statues of Dunharrow
called 'Púkel-men' with the 'Wild Men' of the Drúadan
Forest was not recognized, neither was their 'humanity:'
hence the reference by Ghân-buri-Ghân to persecution of
the 'Wild Men' by Rohirrim in the past ['leave Wild Men
alone in the woods and do not hunt them like beasts any
more']. Since Ghân-buri-Ghân was attempting to use the
Common Speech he called his people "Wild Men" (not without
irony); but this was not of course their own name for
themselves."

[13] "The name Drúwaith Iaur (Old Púkel-land) appears on
Miss Pauline Baynes' decorated map of Middle-earth, placed
well to the north of the mountains of the promontory of
Andrast. My father stated however that the name was
inserted by him and was correctly placed. - A marginal
jotting states that after the Battle of the Fords of Isen
it was found that many Drúedain did indeed survive in the
Drúwaith Iaur, for they came forth from the caves where
they dwelt to attack remnants of Saruman's forces that had
been driven away southwards. - In a passage cited on p.
386 [part of 'The Battle of the Fords of Isen -- Troels]
there is a reference to tribes of "Wild Men," fishers and
fowlers, on the coasts of Enedwaith, who were akin in race
and speech to Drúedain of Anórien."

<snip>


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

It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.
- Frodo Baggins, 'LotR' (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Richard Williams

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Dec 7, 2004, 1:19:33 PM12/7/04
to
In article <31l22jF...@individual.net>,

AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:

>> [11] Why did Tolkien make Isildur, more closely associated with
>> the North, into the one who got the Dead-to-be to swear their
>> oath, and the one who cursed them? Why not Anarion of the
>> south-kingdom, or for that matter Elendil himself?
>
>Isildur was the elder son, and that sort of primogeniture seems quite
>important among the Dunedain. If this was a representation of real
>history, I would wonder whether the whole thing was concocted to justify
>Aragorn's claim to the throne of Gondor (oh that Anarion guy, yeah he
>was alright, but Isildur, now there was a king).

And I suppose Aragorn (like Arvedui before him) traces his claim to the
throne all the way back to Elendil's High Kingship of both Arnor and
Gondor, never renounced by Isildur. At the time of the Curse, the war was
still being fought, Elendil was alive, both Isildur and Anarion were
living in the South, and the question of succession to the North Kingdom
had not yet arisen. That Isildur did this rather than his father or
brother is also interesting in view of his subsequent behaviour in seizing
the Ring, and Legolas's comment about Aragorn's command of the dead "In
that hour I looked on Aragorn and thought how great and terrible a Lord he
might have become in the strength of his will, had he taken the Ring to
himself." What gave Isildur the power to curse so dreadfully anyway? And
what terrible things might he have done if he had attempted to wield the
Ring? Or was the 'wraithing' of the Dead (to use Shippey's term) really
something to do with their worship of Sauron rather than any power of
Isildur?

>> [13] When they come out of the Paths into the deep ravine
>> leading to the Morthond Vale, the sky is dark above them
>> although it is still daytime. I suppose this is based on
>> something that, as far as I know, is a fallacy: that if you
>> look up at the daytime sky from the bottom of a well, you will
>> see stars. Of course, it doesn't matter much if it is

http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q241.html
http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae591.cfm

Of course Middle Earth may not follow all the currently-enforced laws of
physics :-)

>> [15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
>> from Numenor to set at Erech? As ballast? Or did his
>> granddad Amandil say to him "Isildur, I have this feeling
>> you're gonna need a big round black stone over there. Take
>> one along"?
>
>It obviously must have been of some importance. It's one of those neat
>details that Tolkien puts in his stories that add texture and the
>feeling of deep history, without even having to explain what the devil
>it really is. In fact, it seems like a lot of the history of the
>Numenoreans in Middle Earth has its seeds in cool sounding catch phrases
>like "seven stars", etc.

External to the story, doesn't one of the HoME volumes mention an earlier
version of the plot where Aragorn retrieves a palantir from Erech? I can't
remember CT's discussion of this, but perhaps the Stone of Erech retains
part of the origin story of the palantiri?

Richard.

Charles Jones

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Dec 7, 2004, 1:51:14 PM12/7/04
to
In article <cp4s7l$cpk$1...@helium.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk>, rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
says...

> What gave Isildur the power to curse so dreadfully anyway?

I have always believed that the power of the curse came from the action
of the oath-breaking. That Isildur did not contain any such power of
himself, but that he could make an appeal to the power of the original
oath.

--
Charles Jones (char...@frii.com)
Loveland, Colorado
AIM: LovelandCharles
ICQ: 29610755
MSN: charl...@passport.com

Message has been deleted

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Dec 7, 2004, 2:08:15 PM12/7/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Jens Kilian <j...@acm.org> wrote:
> m...@privacy.net (Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) writes:
>> [4] Why is it Halbarad, and not one of Arwen's brothers, who
>> gives Arwen's standard to Aragorn?
> You never had a sister, right? ;-)

:-) Actually I have three sisters (all older), but I take
your meaning.

>> [5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
>> magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?
> It bears the Royal Arms of Gondor. Whoever uses it had better have the right
> to use them, or else.

True, and that probably answers the previous question too.
Arwen made the standard for Aragorn, but the person who bore it
to Aragorn was more appropriately one of Aragorn's close
kinsmen, a person who is also associated with the King and will
fight with him out of fealty.

>> ... I can't remember any particular


>> underground journeys in _The Silmarillion_, except Tuor's
>> brief passage through the Cirith Ninniach. Anyone?
> Tuor's entrance into Gondolin (in _UT_).

True... and for that matter, the entrance into Gondolin by
Aredhel, Maeglin, and Eol. I suppose we can't count the various
characters' ramblings around Menegroth or Nargothrond.

>> [13] When they come out of the Paths into the deep ravine
>> leading to the Morthond Vale, the sky is dark above them

>> although it is still daytime.... In fact I think he uses it


>> somewhere else, but I can't remember where; does anyone else
>> remember?
> Kheled-zaram also shows (mirrored) stars in the daytime.

For some reason I thought it was a direct view of the sky.
But you, Michelle and Aaron have all said this, and it does ring
true to me, so that must have been what I was thinking of.

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Dec 7, 2004, 3:57:42 PM12/7/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Jon Meltzer <jonme...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> On 6 Dec 2004 05:12:21 GMT, m...@privacy.net (Jamie Andrews; real

> address @ bottom of message) wrote:
>>[10] Who are the Dead anyway? I mean, what were they called
>> before they got dead and became the Dead?
> The Warlocks? :-)

I had to Google for that but I got it eventually.

It took a long time for *these* Dead to be Grateful, but
eventually I guess they were (to Aragorn). :-)

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 7, 2004, 4:10:04 PM12/7/04
to
In message <news:31l22jF...@individual.net>
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:
>
> Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:
>
> <snip very excellent and edifying synopsis>
>
>> [1] The Dunedain are a bit of an unsolved riddle. Where do they
>> live? Do they have wives and children? Where do the wives
>> and children live? How do they make money? Does Elrond
>> support them all on _miruvor_ and good wishes? Or do they
>> work part-time as bartenders and tobacco-pickers, between gigs
>> as doughty, dour-handed warriors?
>
> Well they obviously no longer live as the Dunedain of Gondor, that
> much is certain. It seems pretty clear that the men, at least,
> spend a good chunk of their lives wandering through Eriador,
> probably not aimlessly, but rather in pursuit of Sauron's
> servants.

Yes, "'I have thirty with me,' said Halbarad. 'That is all of our
kindred that could be gathered in haste;'" This, IMO, strongly implies
that these rangers were scattered over a large area of Eriador.

" After Arvedui the North-kingdom ended, for the Dúnedain
were now few and all the peoples of Eriador diminished. Yet
the line of the kings was continued by the Chieftains of
the Dúnedain, of whom Aranarth son of Arvedui was the
first. Arahael his son was fostered in Rivendell, and so
were all the sons of the chieftains after him; and there
also were kept the heirlooms of their house: the ring of
Barahir, the shards of Narsil, the star of Elendil, and the
sceptre of Annúminas.
When the kingdom ended the Dúnedain passed into the
shadows and became a secret and wandering people, and their
deeds and labours were seldom sung or recorded. Little now
is remembered of them since Elrond departed. Although even
before the Watchful Peace ended evil things again began to
attack Eriador or to invade it secretly, the Chieftains for
the most part lived out their long lives."
(LotR App. A,I(iii) 'Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur')

This is, to my knowledge, the best description that exists, and this
suggests an at least semi-nomadic people.

> I have a gut feeling that they might live as the Edain did in
> Beleriand, in small, self-sufficient settlements.

I like this -- even if they were a wandering people they could still
live in small semi-permanent settlements; a decade here, a dozen years
there. The idea that they were in many ways returning to an existence
reminiscent of the life of the edain in Beleriand (or even before
reaching Beleriand) does in many ways seem appropriate: their history
coming a full circle.

> I don't think their numbers were great enough to support any kind of
> real economy, but obviously they must have had some sort of income to
> support a pint or two in places like Bree.

Spoils of war?
Those for which the original owner can't be found?

I doubt that they would be able to have a surplus from any settlements
-- whatever the permanency of those -- as it seems that the surplus
resources are directed towards the protection of Eriador rather than
the gathering of wealth.

> I can't believe that they, a proud people, would allow Elrond to
> bankroll them, and judging by the frosty treatment Aragorn gets at
> the Prancing Pony, I can't imagine they get paid to fight off orcs
> and bandits.

I can't really see them doing that either.

> Maybe they do some trapping, sell fur and such, while remaining
> largely self-sufficient.

Aragorn does seem to be an accomplished tracker at least . . .

>> [3] There are several references to Aragorn's love affair with
>> Arwen in this chapter,

[...]


>
> To be honest, on my first reading, I didn't really understand that
> point until, well, after the defeat of Sauron.

I'm afraid that I don't recall when it finally dawned on me, but I
suspect that the wedding came as a complete surprise for me ;-)

>> [4] Why is it Halbarad, and not one of Arwen's brothers, who
>> gives Arwen's standard to Aragorn?
>
> Closer kin, maybe?

That was my thought as well. The other ideas that I could imagine don't
seem to fit the case here: Arwen would have had easy access to her
brothers, and I don't think that they would have objected to taking the
standard to Aragorn. Of course Elladan and Elrohir may have decided to
go only after the Dúnedain had left (bringing the standard), and caught
up with the others en route.

>> [5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
>> magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?
>
> I don't see ay evidence of it being enchanted. I think it's just
> a very nice standard.

I agree -- looking to the description when it breaks in the wind at
Harlond it doesn't even seem that the gems had their own light ("And
the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by
Arwen daughter of Elrond").

I'm not sure, however, that this necessarily means that the standard
did not have any qualities beyond the strictly (real-world) mundane. It
might, for instance, be a little more efficient than a standard made by
a human at inspiring those feelings that a standard are meant to
inspire (loyalty, courage, confidence in the friends of Elendil's heir,
fear, hesitation and doubt in his enemies), but I wouldn't call that
'magic' -- merely 'elvish'.

<snip>

>> [9] If the horses of the Rohirrim are so great, then why is it
>> the horses of the Dunedain that are led more easily into the
>> Paths? And what are the words that Legolas speaks to Arod the
>> horse that allow him to be led into the Paths? Is it a magic
>> spell?
>
> Well, I would imagine that the Rohirrim don't breed horses to
> withstand wraiths and other undead. I think the Dunedain would
> probably have far more interest in that department.

The beasts reflecting the owners?

The supernatural scared the Rohirrim, and consequently also their
horses, but the Dúnedain were different, lords among men, and didn't
fear the dead, and neither did their horses.

Isn't there an adage about sheeps becoming like the shepherds, and the
shepherds like sheep? (Not that I'm suggesting that the Dúnedain were
becoming like horses <G>)

And then of course Tolkien also gives a part of the explanation:

" Then Aragorn led the way, and such was the strength of
his will in that hour that all the Dúnedain and their
horses followed him. And indeed the love that the horses of
the Rangers bore for their riders was so great that they
were willing to face even the terror of the Door, if their
masters' hearts were steady as they walked beside them."

I speculate -- and doubt -- whether Aragorn would have succeeded in
leading Hasufel through the door.

>> [11] Why did Tolkien make Isildur, more closely associated with
>> the North, into the one who got the Dead-to-be to swear their
>> oath, and the one who cursed them? Why not Anarion of the
>> south-kingdom, or for that matter Elendil himself?
>
> Isildur was the elder son, and that sort of primogeniture seems
> quite important among the Dunedain. If this was a representation
> of real history, I would wonder whether the whole thing was
> concocted to justify Aragorn's claim to the throne of Gondor (oh
> that Anarion guy, yeah he was alright, but Isildur, now there was
> a king).

And a king of Gondor, mind.

Isildur and Anárion landed in the the south, and together they ruled
Gondor. Being the oldest, and heir to the title of High King, Isildur
would probably be just a bit more equal than Anárion ;-)

>> [12] We get something unusual in this chapter: for a long way,
>> we are seeing the story through Gimli's eyes. This was not
>> even done in chapters like "The Departure of Boromir" that were
>> completely hobbit-free. Why does Tolkien do this?
>
> I think it's likely because Gimli is, next to the Hobbits, the
> closest to the level of the reader.

A good point.

I wonder exactly whose viewpoint we get on the events of III,1 and
III,2. These two chapters seem to be mostly told by Aragorn, but it's
not quite as obvious as for most other chapters. My impression is that
the story in these chapters came to Frodo's book by way of Merry and
Pippin, having been told to them (primarily) while they spoke in
Isengard after the reunion of the two hobbits with the Three Hunters.

> Besides, when Gimli admits his fear, you *know* the Paths of the Dead
> are a very scary place. Aragorn's all tough and confident, and
> Legolas was like "Dead, pah, they don't mean nothing to me!"

;-)

<snip>

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

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

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Dec 7, 2004, 4:34:18 PM12/7/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote:
> "Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message" <m...@privacy.net> skrev i
> en meddelelse news:31i81lF...@individual.net...
>> [8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow
>> any relation of the men that became the Dead?
> Like Jens Kilian, I get the impression that the Púkel-men were wrought by
> Drúedain, relatives to the folk of Ghân-buri-Ghân, the wild woses.

Yes, but... the fact that the Pukel-men are related to the
Druedain doesn't mean that they are not related to the Dead.

>> [10] Who are the Dead anyway? I mean, what were they called
>> before they got dead and became the Dead? Do we ever find out?
> ...they were apparently related rather to the Dunlendings.

This sounds logical, but are there any quotations to
support this? There must be, since both you and Aaron say this,
but I can't remember anything.

>> [15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
>> from Numenor to set at Erech? As ballast? Or did his
>> granddad Amandil say to him "Isildur, I have this feeling
>> you're gonna need a big round black stone over there. Take
>> one along"?
> I would presume to guess neither. Perhaps it had some important
> significance to the last faithful Dúnedain of Númenor. This significance
> was then later forgotten, which is a common enough theme in these books:
> ruins of a forgotten folk, ancient stone figures slowly weathering away.

That sounds like a good explanation. There was some good
reason, but although many legends came down from that time, the
one explaining why was not among them.

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Dec 7, 2004, 4:59:34 PM12/7/04
to
[excellent points snipped]

In rec.arts.books.tolkien AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message wrote:
> I think Theoden, like Aragorn, is a sort of idealized king; a gracious,
> kind-hearted paternal figure. To paraphrase what I said about the last
> chapter, Theoden (and Aragorn) are the kinds of kings that we would like
> there to be, and Denethor is the kind of king I expect most real ones
> were like; proud, arrogant and jealously guarding their position.

Yes, Tolkien may be saying that the rustic, "natural"
nobility of the Rohirrim is -- at this point at least -- better
than the worn-out, privileged nobility of Gondor, a nobility
that is in need of a renewal.

>> [9] If the horses of the Rohirrim are so great, then why is it
>> the horses of the Dunedain that are led more easily into the
>> Paths? And what are the words that Legolas speaks to Arod the
>> horse that allow him to be led into the Paths? Is it a magic
>> spell?
> Well, I would imagine that the Rohirrim don't breed horses to withstand
> wraiths and other undead. I think the Dunedain would probably have far
> more interest in that department.

Good point. The Dunedain somewhat expected to encounter
things like the Nazgul, both because of recent history and
because of their history as the descendants of the people of
Arthedain, who were attacked by the Nazgul and their minions.
The Rohirrim came from the North 500 years ago, but even that
was after the end of Arthedain.

>> [15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
>> from Numenor to set at Erech? As ballast? Or did his
>> granddad Amandil say to him "Isildur, I have this feeling
>> you're gonna need a big round black stone over there. Take
>> one along"?
> It obviously must have been of some importance. It's one of those neat
> details that Tolkien puts in his stories that add texture and the
> feeling of deep history, without even having to explain what the devil
> it really is. In fact, it seems like a lot of the history of the
> Numenoreans in Middle Earth has its seeds in cool sounding catch phrases
> like "seven stars", etc.

That's true. No matter how rich the backstory became, it
never was completely filled in. The biggest things unexplained
in the text are explained in the Appendices or Silm. The
biggest things left unexplained there are explained in UT,
Letters or HoME. The biggest things left unexplained there may
be explained in small scraps of writings published in Vinyar
Tengwar or found in the Marquette archives. But there is always
a little fringe of unexplained elements, that sound interesting
and that work story-wise, but don't have an explicit backstory.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Dec 7, 2004, 5:22:24 PM12/7/04
to
In message <news:31i81lF...@individual.net> m...@privacy.net
(Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> Chapter of the Week
> The Lord of the Rings (The Return of the King)
> Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company"

Absolutely brilliant, thanks!

<snip>

> 2. The Debate of Eowyn and Aragorn

This was very interesting -- I'm grateful to you for pointing out these
interesting points of language here and elsewhere in the chapter.

<snip>

> (c) The use of the "shall"/"will" distinction.

I wonder if this could help explain the usage for instance when Sam, in
IV,8 'The Stairs of Cirith Ungol' says, "And we shouldn't be here at
all, if we'd known more about it before we started."

You note that "we shall" is "when one is merely _predicting_ future
events" and here Sam is doing almost that -- he is predicting what the
future would have been, had the conditions been different.

<snip>

> 4. Numbered notes, questions and wisecracks

I've only got few comments here, having addressed a lot of this in
responses to other posts in the thread.

> [6] Here we get one of the first points of contrast between
> Denethor and Theoden,

As has been discussed in the previous chapter, Gandalf does contrast
them, and the description of Pippin's wonder when entering the White
Tower does lead to a comparison between Meduseld and the White Tower.
Also the whole reception of Gandalf with companion(s) by the two rulers
can be contrasted.

> in the differing setup to, and reactions to (resp.) Pippin's
> pledge of allegiance in the previous chapter, and Merry's
> pledge in this chapter.

But here we get a chance to contrast customs as well as the reception
of a Hobbit -- an important point, IMO.

> Pippin pledges allegiance to Denethor in order to show his
> gratitude to Boromir. Merry pledges allegiance to Theoden
> just because he feels love and loyalty for him.

Is this difference in the approach of the Hobbits important? "As a
father you shall be to me" said Merry, while Pippin's offer of service
felt rather as the payment of a debt of honour (as well as a kind of
defiance: "Then Pippin looked the old man in the eye, for pride stirred
strangely within him, still stung by the scorn and suspicion in that
cold voice.") -- or is this difference there to further stress the
difference between the two rulers?

> Denethor reacts with a kind of cold smile, and immediately
> holds Pippin to a formal oath.

" Now tell me your tale, my liege,' said Denethor, half
kindly; half mockingly."

Does Denethor accept Pippin's service partly on the terms that it is
offered, "in payment of [Pippin's] debt"?

> Theoden is genuinely moved and accepts Merry's fealty with
> simple warmth and a simple formulaic phrase.

Rereading it Théoden actually offers Merry to be his esquire before
Merry offers his service. He is as Gandalf describes him in the
previous chapter; "a kindly old man."

> Probably the subject of many an essay in Fantasy and
> Science Fiction courses over the years.

And if not, then it ought to be ;-)

> [7] This is the chapter where Aragorn really starts to get
> "magical" results out of his claim to the Kingship. He is
> able to assert control over the Palantir, he realizes he may
> be the dude mentioned in the old prophecy about the Dead, and
> he is able to get the Dead on his side because of it.

There's an interesting bit about that in the UT essay on the palantíri
(UT 4,II):

"These Stones were an inalienable gift to Elendil and his
heirs, to whom alone they belonged by right; [...] They
could be used lawfully by anyone authorized by either
the 'Heir of Anárion' or the 'Heir of Isildur,' that is,
a lawful King of Gondor or Arnor."
[...]
" It must however be noted with regard to the narrative
of /The Lord of the Rings/ that over and above such
deputed authority, even hereditary, any 'heir of Elendil'
(that is, a recognized descendant occupying a throne or
lordship in the Númenórean realms by virtue of this
descent) had the /right/ to use any of the /palantíri/.
Aragorn thus claimed the right to take the Orthanc-stone
into his possession, since it was now, for the time
being, without owner or warden; and also because he was
/de jure/ the rightful King of both Gondor and Arnor, and
could, if he willed, for just cause withdraw all previous
grants to himself."

The part about Aragorn being de jure the rightful King of both Gondor
and Arnor is probably important in both these cases, not only with
respect to his use of the palantír, but also in the case of his
commanding the dead.

This would also, as I see it, mean that the Council of Gondor was wrong
when they rejected Arvedui's claim to the throne after the death of
Ondoher and his sons in TA 1944.

<snip>

> [9] [...]


> And what are the words that Legolas speaks to Arod the
> horse that allow him to be led into the Paths? Is it a magic
> spell?

I was about to reject the idea of a spell completely until I noticed
that Legolas "/sang/ some words that went soft in the gloom" (my
emphasis). The idea of spell-singing is, I'd say, firmly established in
Middle-earth ("For Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of power", and
Lúthien sang "a song of such surpassing loveliness, and of such
blinding power," that it enchanted even Morgoth).

On the other hand we also have the description from when Legolas was
given Arod:

" A smaller and lighter horse, but restive and fiery, was
brought to Legolas. Arod was his name. But Legolas asked
them to take off saddle and rein. 'I need them not,' he
said, and leaped lightly up, and to their wonder Arod was
tame and willing beneath him, moving here and there with
but a spoken word: such was the elvish way with all good
beasts."
(III,2 'The Riders of Rohan')

So perhaps this isn't really 'magic' as such, but rather a part of
elvish nature that is unattainable to humans (and Dwarves). Though I
like the idea of a song of power, I think the latter explanation is
closer to the truth (though possibly all there is some small measure of
power over the mind in all elven songs: remember the effect of the
songs the Hobbits heard in Rivendell and also Frodo's letter-perfect
memory of Galadriel's song even if he didn't understand it).

<snip>

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

Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
- (Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man)

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 7, 2004, 7:32:48 PM12/7/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:31i81lF...@individual.net> m...@privacy.net
> (Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) enriched us with:
>
> <snip>
>
>> Chapter of the Week
>> The Lord of the Rings (The Return of the King)
>> Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company"
>
> Absolutely brilliant, thanks!

Seconded!

<snip>

[Denethor-Theoden contrasts]

>> Probably the subject of many an essay in Fantasy and
>> Science Fiction courses over the years.
>
> And if not, then it ought to be ;-)

Or at least discussed here... :-)

>> [7] This is the chapter where Aragorn really starts to get
>> "magical" results out of his claim to the Kingship. He is
>> able to assert control over the Palantir, he realizes he may
>> be the dude mentioned in the old prophecy about the Dead, and
>> he is able to get the Dead on his side because of it.
>
> There's an interesting bit about that in the UT essay on the palantíri
> (UT 4,II):
>
> "These Stones were an inalienable gift to Elendil and his
> heirs, to whom alone they belonged by right; [...] "

This jars slightly with the description in 'The Silmarillion' in
Akallabeth:

"These stones were gifts of the Eldar to Amandil, father of Elendil, for
the comfort of the Faithful of Numenor in their dark days, when the
Elves might come no longer to that land under the shadow of Sauron."

But the essential point is the same anyway, regardless of who they were
first given to.

>> [9] [...]
>> And what are the words that Legolas speaks to Arod the
>> horse that allow him to be led into the Paths? Is it a magic
>> spell?
>
> I was about to reject the idea of a spell completely until I noticed
> that Legolas "/sang/ some words that went soft in the gloom" (my
> emphasis).

Ooh. Good point. I _like_ that idea!

<snip good examples of spell-singing and power of songs>

Actually, you missed a few. The Music of Ainur, Luthien's song to throw
down Sauron, and Luthien's song before Mandos. OK, I've probably missed
a few as well, but these lists are compelling!

<snip description of Legolas with his horse>

> So perhaps this isn't really 'magic' as such, but rather a part of
> elvish nature that is unattainable to humans (and Dwarves). Though I
> like the idea of a song of power, I think the latter explanation is
> closer to the truth (though possibly all there is some small measure
> of power over the mind in all elven songs

Definitely.

> remember the effect of the
> songs the Hobbits heard in Rivendell and also Frodo's letter-perfect
> memory of Galadriel's song even if he didn't understand it).

I would go so far as to say that Legolas's song to his horse is an
important point, and another example of the effect (if not precisely
power) of song.

Christopher

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

Shanahan

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Dec 8, 2004, 12:51:44 AM12/8/04
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net>
declared:

> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Raven
> <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote:
>> "Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message" skrev i en
meddelelse

<snip>


>>> [15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
>>> from Numenor to set at Erech? As ballast? Or did his
>>> granddad Amandil say to him "Isildur, I have this feeling
>>> you're gonna need a big round black stone over there. Take
>>> one along"?

LOL

>> I would presume to guess neither. Perhaps it had some
>> important significance to the last faithful Dúnedain of Númenor.
>> This significance was then later forgotten, which is a common
>> enough theme in these books: ruins of a forgotten folk, ancient
>> stone figures slowly weathering away.
>
> That sounds like a good explanation. There was some good
> reason, but although many legends came down from that time, the
> one explaining why was not among them.

In earlier outlines, IIRC, the Stone of Erech was supposed to be one
of the palantiri. It does sound a lot like an enormous, inert
palantir. Perhaps Tolkien kept the idea of a stone being there, for
the reasons you suggest above, or maybe he just liked the idea of
the Numenoreans being able to create such a fantastic object.

Ciaran S.
--
"Much human ingenuity has gone into finding the ultimate Before.
The current state of knowledge can be summarized thus:
In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.
- t. pratchett


the softrat

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Dec 7, 2004, 10:25:22 PM12/7/04
to
On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 21:10:04 +0000 (UTC), Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>
>This is, to my knowledge, the best description that exists, and this
>suggests an at least semi-nomadic people.
>
Or the people of Nebraska.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
Please don't congregate in groups.

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 8, 2004, 6:46:26 AM12/8/04
to
in <31mdcvF...@individual.net>,
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> enriched
us with:

>
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Jens Kilian <j...@acm.org> wrote:
>> m...@privacy.net (Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message)
>> writes:
>>>
>>> [4] Why is it Halbarad, and not one of Arwen's brothers, who
>>> [5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
>>> magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?
>>
>> It bears the Royal Arms of Gondor. Whoever uses it had better have
>> the right to use them, or else.
>
> True, and that probably answers the previous question too.
> Arwen made the standard for Aragorn, but the person who bore it
> to Aragorn was more appropriately one of Aragorn's close
> kinsmen, a person who is also associated with the King and will
> fight with him out of fealty.

And, very appropriately, Halbarad also becomes Aragorn's first
standard-bearer, carrying the standard in the attack from Harlond.

>>> ... I can't remember any particular
>>> underground journeys in _The Silmarillion_, except Tuor's
>>> brief passage through the Cirith Ninniach. Anyone?
>> Tuor's entrance into Gondolin (in _UT_).
>
> True... and for that matter, the entrance into Gondolin by
> Aredhel, Maeglin, and Eol. I suppose we can't count the various
> characters' ramblings around Menegroth or Nargothrond.

What about Túrin's sojourn in the home of the petty-dwarves?

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer

Taking fun
as simply fun
and earnestness
in earnest
shows how thouroughly
thou none
of the two
discernest.
- Piet Hein, /The Eternal Twins/

Richard Williams

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Dec 8, 2004, 12:27:05 PM12/8/04
to
In article <cp4u33$u24$2...@fair.qualcomm.com>,

Charles Jones <char...@frii.com> wrote:
>In article <cp4s7l$cpk$1...@helium.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk>, rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
>says...
>> What gave Isildur the power to curse so dreadfully anyway?
>
>I have always believed that the power of the curse came from the action
>of the oath-breaking. That Isildur did not contain any such power of
>himself, but that he could make an appeal to the power of the original
>oath.

Interesting point - oaths certainly seem to have considerable power in
Tolkien. The Oath of Feanor is the most obvious example, and of course
Frodo correctly predicts the danger to Gollum of swearing an oath on
(or rather by) the Ring. One other thing about the curse - in making it,
Isildur has the foresight to see that the war "will last through years
uncounted", yet it's really his own later action in taking and preserving
the Ring that actually brings this about. Which seems a bit hard on the
Dead :-)

Richard.

Jens Kilian

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Dec 8, 2004, 1:16:19 PM12/8/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> writes:
> So perhaps this isn't really 'magic' as such, but rather a part of
> elvish nature that is unattainable to humans (and Dwarves).

It's the Horseman's Word.

> Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
> - (Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man)

Speaking of Pratchett...

"... until he suffered himself to be led, and Legolas passed in.
Some of his words to Arod Gimli had been able to understand:
'Cross me, you bugger...'"
- "Wizards Abroad" by T. R. R. Ptolkien

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Dec 8, 2004, 1:22:40 PM12/8/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Richard Williams <rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk> wrote:
> Interesting point - oaths certainly seem to have considerable power in
> Tolkien. The Oath of Feanor is the most obvious example, and of course
> Frodo correctly predicts the danger to Gollum of swearing an oath on
> (or rather by) the Ring. One other thing about the curse - in making it,
> Isildur has the foresight to see that the war "will last through years
> uncounted", yet it's really his own later action in taking and preserving
> the Ring that actually brings this about. Which seems a bit hard on the
> Dead :-)

Ah, I see what you meant earlier now. Yes, very
interesting. Isildur cursed them to hang around forever until
they helped to defeat Sauron. However, if Isildur had later
just thrown the Ring into Mount Doom, then Sauron would have
been defeated, and the Dead would have been in a curse-logic
Catch-22: they couldn't go until they helped defeat Sauron, but
there was no Sauron anymore to defeat.

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Dec 8, 2004, 1:29:59 PM12/8/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Tar-Elenion <tar_e...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> In article <31i81lF...@individual.net>, m...@privacy.net says...
>> 3. Baldor and the Paths of the Dead.
> As a side note or perhaps a bit of trivia, the skeleton rest before a
> "stony door closed fast". In VT 42 a published note (Note 6, Rivers and
> Beacon-hills of Gondor) has it that the door was probably "the entrance
> to an evil temple hall" accounting for its "special horror".
> <snip>
>> [1] The Dunedain are a bit of an unsolved riddle. Where do they
>> live?
> At least for the first question David Salo has mentioned a note in the
> Marquette Archives that says the Dunedain dwelt in The Angle, south of
> Rivendell, between the Bruinen and the Mitheithel.
> <snip>

Wow, those are great snippets. Thanks!!

It makes me wonder how many other bits of information and
speculation by JRRT are still to come. It seems like he would
often write one sentence or a phrase on a slip of paper, or in
the margins of or above or below some other more significant
piece of writing. It would be great to get some complete
compendium of all of these. I suppose that is a project for the
literary scholars of this century with access to the Marquette
archives and whatever is still in the possession of CJRT.

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Dec 8, 2004, 1:37:11 PM12/8/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:31i81lF...@individual.net> m...@privacy.net
> (Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message) enriched us with:
> Absolutely brilliant, thanks!

You're welcome! Thank you!

>> 2. The Debate of Eowyn and Aragorn

>> (c) The use of the "shall"/"will" distinction.
> I wonder if this could help explain the usage for instance when Sam, in
> IV,8 'The Stairs of Cirith Ungol' says, "And we shouldn't be here at
> all, if we'd known more about it before we started."

Yes, I think it is the same thing, except with the
subjunctive mood (?) instead of the future tense. A modern
North American speaker would say "And we wouldn't be here at
all..."; "should" is reserved for talking about obligation.
However, I have heard many people in Britain saying "we should"
as the first-person-plural equivalent of "they would".

[snip other excellent points]

Tar-Elenion

unread,
Dec 8, 2004, 3:20:49 PM12/8/04
to
In article <31ovh7F...@individual.net>, m...@privacy.net says...

> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Tar-Elenion <tar_e...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > In article <31i81lF...@individual.net>, m...@privacy.net says...
> >> 3. Baldor and the Paths of the Dead.
> > As a side note or perhaps a bit of trivia, the skeleton rest before a
> > "stony door closed fast". In VT 42 a published note (Note 6, Rivers and
> > Beacon-hills of Gondor) has it that the door was probably "the entrance
> > to an evil temple hall" accounting for its "special horror".
> > <snip>
> >> [1] The Dunedain are a bit of an unsolved riddle. Where do they
> >> live?
> > At least for the first question David Salo has mentioned a note in the
> > Marquette Archives that says the Dunedain dwelt in The Angle, south of
> > Rivendell, between the Bruinen and the Mitheithel.
> > <snip>
>
> Wow, those are great snippets. Thanks!!
>
> It makes me wonder how many other bits of information and
> speculation by JRRT are still to come. It seems like he would
> often write one sentence or a phrase on a slip of paper, or in
> the margins of or above or below some other more significant
> piece of writing. It would be great to get some complete
> compendium of all of these. I suppose that is a project for the
> literary scholars of this century with access to the Marquette
> archives and whatever is still in the possession of CJRT.

Much of this is being published in Vinyar Tengwar and Parma
Eldalamberon, at least as it relates to the linguistic aspects.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 8, 2004, 3:34:06 PM12/8/04
to
Richard Williams <rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk> wrote:

<snip>

[Isildur's curse]

> One other thing about the curse - in making
> it, Isildur has the foresight to see that the war "will last through
> years uncounted", yet it's really his own later action in taking and
> preserving the Ring that actually brings this about. Which seems a
> bit hard on the Dead :-)

[Scene 42: The Paths of the Dead - Legolas is telling Gimli a story]

Legolas: So that's why the Dead are here following us. They were cursed
by Isildur before he went off to fight Sauron, and the Dead had to wait
until they could fight Sauron again. Of course, they wouldn't have had
to wait if Isildur hadn't been silly and had destroyed that Ring instead
of keeping it. I guess he...

[whispering noise behind them falls silent]

Legolas: Oops!

[angry noises start up and grow louder]

Gimli: What, you mean Isildur could have released them by destroying the
Ring? Legolas, where are you going? Why are you running?

[Gimli turns to look behind him, and we now draw a discreet veil over
the following scenes, and leave Legolas to think up a suitable excuse
for turning up at Pelennor with a standard, and pursued by a fleet of
Corsairs, but no dwarf or Heir of Isildur]


Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 8, 2004, 3:49:27 PM12/8/04
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Richard Williams <rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk>
> wrote:
>> Interesting point - oaths certainly seem to have considerable power
>> in Tolkien. The Oath of Feanor is the most obvious example, and of
>> course Frodo correctly predicts the danger to Gollum of swearing an
>> oath on (or rather by) the Ring. One other thing about the curse -
>> in making it, Isildur has the foresight to see that the war "will
>> last through years uncounted", yet it's really his own later action
>> in taking and preserving the Ring that actually brings this about.
>> Which seems a bit hard on the Dead :-)
>
> Ah, I see what you meant earlier now. Yes, very
> interesting. Isildur cursed them to hang around forever until
> they helped to defeat Sauron. However, if Isildur had later
> just thrown the Ring into Mount Doom, then Sauron would have
> been defeated, and the Dead would have been in a curse-logic
> Catch-22: they couldn't go until they helped defeat Sauron, but
> there was no Sauron anymore to defeat.

Maybe we need to consider the fact that curses and oaths in Tolkien are
things that are very double-edged. It is possible that by making this
curse or oath, that Isildur (much like Feanor and Thingol before him)
ensnared himself within "the fate of a mightier realm". Because he made
this curse, Sauron could not be defeated yet, and it was Isildur
himself, and his heirs, who paid the price for this.

Might it even be possible to say that when Aragorn says (at the Council
of Elrond) that "it seemed fit that Isildur's heir should labour to
repair Isildur's fault", that (though he is there referring to the Ring)
this could also refer to this cursing of the men that became the Dead.

Of course the Dead gain rest by fulfilling their oath, but it is
Aragorn's duty as well to give them the chance to regain their honour
and be at peace. All this speculation stems from the fact that having
Men bound to the world and unable to depart, is the absolute antithesis
of Tolkien's theme that Men should be free to depart the world. The
Dead, and the cursing of them, seem profoundly unnatural in Tolkien's
world.

John Savard

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Dec 8, 2004, 8:31:31 PM12/8/04
to
On 6 Dec 2004 05:12:21 GMT, m...@privacy.net (Jamie Andrews; real address
@ bottom of message) wrote, in part:

>(c) The use of the "shall"/"will" distinction. In the English
>spoken in the UK up until at least Tolkien's time, there are two
>ways of using the auxiliary verbs "shall" and "will" about
>future events. Basically, when one is merely _predicting_
>future events, one uses the following conjugation:
>I shall we shall
>thou wilt you will
>he will they will
>When one is asserting that someone will take action to _ensure_
>that the future events happen, one uses the opposite conjugation:
>I will we will
>thou shalt you shall
>he shall they shall
>(There are some exceptions to this and fine points of usage of
>"shall"/"will" which I have never been able to comprehend, since
>most people that I know have never employed this usage.) This
>usage is employed in Shakespeare and the King James Bible, but
>mostly died out in North America before about 1900, and is dying
>out in the UK now as well, as far as I understand.

I remember at one point first reading that the distinction between
"shall" and "will" was:

_shall_ means that you _intend_ to do something in the future, God
willing: I shall return this book to the library on time;

_will_ refers to simple futurity; the Sun will rise tomorrow.

Since then, I've read a claim that it's the other way around, however;
but the original source seemed to me to be the more trustworthy.

John Savard
http://home.ecn.ab.ca/~jsavard/index.html

Odysseus

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Dec 9, 2004, 2:05:27 AM12/9/04
to
John Savard wrote:
>
<snip>

>
> I remember at one point first reading that the distinction between
> "shall" and "will" was:
>
> _shall_ means that you _intend_ to do something in the future, God
> willing: I shall return this book to the library on time;
>
> _will_ refers to simple futurity; the Sun will rise tomorrow.
>
> Since then, I've read a claim that it's the other way around, however;
> but the original source seemed to me to be the more trustworthy.
>
The traditional rule depends on grammatical person: in the second and
third persons the usage is as you describe, but it reverses in the
first person. So "I shall" and "we shall" are the plainer forms,
while "I will" and "we will" express determination.

--
Odysseus

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Dec 9, 2004, 12:12:54 PM12/9/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Odysseus <odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> wrote:

> John Savard wrote:
>> _shall_ means that you _intend_ to do something in the future, God
>> willing: I shall return this book to the library on time;
>> _will_ refers to simple futurity; the Sun will rise tomorrow.
> The traditional rule depends on grammatical person: in the second and
> third persons the usage is as you describe, but it reverses in the
> first person. So "I shall" and "we shall" are the plainer forms,
> while "I will" and "we will" express determination.

There are two things that help me to remember. The first
is the words of my highschool French teacher (whom everyone
hated but who was effective at teaching grammar), insisting that
we translate the future tense in French into English using the
words *shall-will-will, shall-will-will* (that being 1st, 2nd
and 3rd person singular and plural). I don't know why she
insisted on that, since I don't think even she employed that usage.

The second is how the Ten Commandments are phrased in the
King James bible: "Thou shalt not kill" is *not a prediction*. :-)
Thus shall-will-will is prediction, and will-shall-shall is
saying someone will ensure it happens.

John Jones

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Dec 8, 2004, 2:51:05 PM12/8/04
to
"Jens Kilian" <j...@acm.org> wrote in message
news:87zn0o6...@gondolin.bb.bawue.de...

> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> writes:
> > So perhaps this isn't really 'magic' as such, but rather a part of
> > elvish nature that is unattainable to humans (and Dwarves).
>
> It's the Horseman's Word.
>

Again, according to Pratchett, this is on the lines of 'Behave, you bugger,
or I'll have your balls on the anvil'.

Raven

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Dec 9, 2004, 5:26:00 PM12/9/04
to
"Odysseus" <odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> skrev i en meddelelse
news:41B7F96A...@yahoo-dot.ca...

> The traditional rule depends on grammatical person: in the second and
> third persons the usage is as you describe, but it reverses in the
> first person. So "I shall" and "we shall" are the plainer forms,
> while "I will" and "we will" express determination.

I read the same when I learnt English in school. An example was given: a
foreigner fell in the Thames and cried out: "I will drown and nobody shall
save me!". And people stood on the banks wondering: why doesn't he want to
be saved?

Crú.


Shanahan

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Dec 9, 2004, 11:58:30 PM12/9/04
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net>
declared:

> Chapter of the Week
> The Lord of the Rings (The Return of the King)
> Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company"

> 2. The Debate of Eowyn and Aragorn
> This beautiful passage is a kind of Tolkien set-piece:
> a romantically-charged debate between a male character and a
> female character, about some issue of greater import than just
> the romance. Tolkien uses this device at least three more times
> that I can think of: the debate between Eowyn and Faramir in
> RotK Book 6, chapter V, "The Steward and the King"; the last
> discussion between Aragorn and Arwen, in RotK Appendix A part
> 1(v); and the "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth", or "Colloquy of
> Finrod and Andreth", published in Christopher Tolkien's series
> _The History of Middle-Earth_, in book X, _Morgoth's Ring_. [16]

Very interesting and perceptive point! I wonder if we could add the
debate between the Ents and the Entwives? The Entwives aren't there
themselves to argue their side, but the Elves are their proxies, by
virtue of their song, which Treebeard sings.

<snip>
> In this debate, Eowyn at first tries to dissuade Aragorn
> from taking the Paths of the Dead, believing it to be certain
> death for him and his companions. She then tries to convince
> him to at least take her with them. All the way along, she is
> revealing to Aragorn more and more her love for him, and stops
> just short of declaring it openly. There are some memorable
> lines in which she reveals her bitterness about always being
> left behind, and her fear of "a cage". The debate ends with
> Aragorn leaving with his group, and Eowyn in tears.

I think these are some of the best (only?) lines in the book spoken
on behalf of women. They've always struck me as much more than mere
"bitterness". Eowyn is speaking for all women who've wanted to
fight for their homes and their land just as their men do. And
wanted credit for it, too.

"'A time may come soon,' [Aragorn] said, 'when none will return.
Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall
remember the deeds that are done in the last defence of your homes.
Yet the deeds will be no less valiant because they are unpraised.'
And she answered, 'All your words are but to say: you are a
woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in
battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the
men will need it no more."

<snip>
> himself died. Baldor was presumably fascinated by this; later,
> at a banquet, he swore an oath that he would tread the Paths of
> the Dead. (A scene straight out of Norse sagas.)

Aided by much hearty quaffing of grog and mead, I'm sure. <g>

> [5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
> magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?

I love the contrast between Eowyn in this chapter, and Arwen's
contribution. Eowyn argues cogently for her rights to fight for her
land and her people as a woman. (And later on makes an enormous
battlefield contribution to her people's victory.) Arwen sews a
really pretty standard for her man.

I think I'd rather have seen Aragorn marry Eowyn. ;)

> [8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow

> any relation of the men that became the Dead?

Tolkien's changing concept of the Druedain is interesting to me, and
some of it is hinted at here.
The name 'Pukel' is derived from "Old English púcel (still surviving
as /puckle/), .... referring to a devil, or to a minor sprite such
as Puck, and often applied to ugly misshapen persons."
Even earlier in the writing process, Tolkien had the Rohirrim call
them "the /Hoker-men/, from Old English /hocor/ 'mockery, derision,
scorn'." (HoME VIII, see below)
These early conceptions of the Druedain seem very derogatory.
Then there is the median figure of Ghan-buri-Ghan, who is ugly and
misshapen, but obviously noble in spirit. His laughter is "a
strange gurgling sound".
Then finally we have the noble, magical Druedain of UT, whose
laughter was "rich and rolling....pure merriment untainted by scorn
or malice. ....their laughter and the laughter of Orcs are as
different as is the light of Aman from the darkness of Angband."
The Druedain of UT are of the Edain and admitted to Numenor (and
also wise enough to leave it before it sinks, according to a
Gondorian legend). They are somewhat grim, still unlovely to look
at, and merciless towards the Orcs, but this description is a far
cry from the early names.
Nice that Tolkien developed them this way!

(Quotes from HoME VIII, TWofR, 'Book Five Begun and Abandoned', date
from 1944; this is the year-and-a-half gap in writing LotR that
Tolkien mentions in the Foreword. Picked up again in 1946.)

> [9a] (oops) Underground journeys are usually perilous in JRRT's
> Middle-earth stories: there are the journeys under the Misty
> Mountains and through the Lonely Mountain in _The Hobbit_,
> and the journeys through Moria and Shelob's lair elsewhere in
> LOTR. This is the only one in the two books that doesn't
> include hobbits, and the only one that seems not to involve
> any direct physical danger to the participants -- here the
> danger is psychological. I can't remember any particular


> underground journeys in _The Silmarillion_, except Tuor's
> brief passage through the Cirith Ninniach. Anyone?

Underground journeys are perilous in many legends and stories. It's
kind of a staple of myth: the journey of the hero to the underworld,
and back. Recall Orpheus, etc. It is the journey that a shaman
often takes in ritual trance, on behalf of his people, to bring back
dangerous knowledge. In anthropological theory, it's also analogous
to the movement of worshippers during many rituals: they are lead,
by a priest/ess figure and by sacred words, safely into sacred
space, and then safely back. The priest/ess and the sacred words /
songs / substances, ensure the safety of the worshippers in the
dangerous transition between the mundane world and the world of the
sacred, i.e., in the journey 'underground'.

It's interesting, considering that this type of journey is such a
staple of world myth, that so little of it is found in Tolkien's own
mythology, _The_ _Silmarillion_. I wonder if he found the concept
too pagan, perhaps? Although, looking at it objectively, one can
see that the Catholic Mass is an analog of it.

The underground journey that fits this description best, in LotR,
I'd say would be the Mines of Moria. The shaman figure is killed,
it's so dangerous; and the outcome is the safety, aid, and knowledge
gained in Lothlorien. But even in LotR, the underground journeys
only fit the standard stuff of myth very loosely.

> [11] Why did Tolkien make Isildur, more closely associated with
> the North, into the one who got the Dead-to-be to swear their
> oath, and the one who cursed them? Why not Anarion of the
> south-kingdom, or for that matter Elendil himself?

So Aragorn would be perfectly suited to call them to fulfillment of
the oath.

Ciaran S.
--
"And what rough beast, its time come 'round at last
slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
- w.b. yeats


AC

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Dec 10, 2004, 1:10:36 AM12/10/04
to
On 7 Dec 2004 21:34:18 GMT,
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> wrote:
>> "Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message" <m...@privacy.net> skrev i
>> en meddelelse news:31i81lF...@individual.net...
>>> [8] Are the Pukel-men that line the path going up to Dunharrow
>>> any relation of the men that became the Dead?
>> Like Jens Kilian, I get the impression that the Púkel-men were wrought by
>> Drúedain, relatives to the folk of Ghân-buri-Ghân, the wild woses.
>
> Yes, but... the fact that the Pukel-men are related to the
> Druedain doesn't mean that they are not related to the Dead.

Well, I think Appendix F makes it pretty clear:

"Wholly alien was the speech of the Wild Men of Druadan Forest. Alien too,
or remotely akin, was the language of the Dunlendings. These were a remnant
of the peoples that had dwelt in the vales of the White Mountains in ages
past. The Dead Men of Dunharrow were their kin."

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

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

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 10, 2004, 4:06:05 AM12/10/04
to
in <slrncrifes.215....@aaronclausen.alberni.net>,

AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> Well, I think Appendix F makes it pretty clear:

Good job!

I knew I had seen something about them somewhere, but I just couldn't
find it. Thanks.

--
Troels Forchhammer

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the
shoulders of giants.
- Isaac Newton

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 10, 2004, 4:29:05 AM12/10/04
to
in <P05ud.1462$jB3....@news.get2net.dk>,
Raven <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam> enriched us with:

;-))


This, then, leads me to ask about the difference between "I should not
say that" and "I would not say that" -- and the same with "you"
substituted for "I".

--
Troels Forchhammer

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

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Dec 10, 2004, 10:25:42 AM12/10/04
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Well, I think Appendix F makes it pretty clear:
> "Wholly alien was the speech of the Wild Men of Druadan Forest. Alien too,
> or remotely akin, was the language of the Dunlendings. These were a remnant
> of the peoples that had dwelt in the vales of the White Mountains in ages
> past. The Dead Men of Dunharrow were their kin."

Yep, that's pretty definitive. :-) Thanks.

I guess I was thinking of situations like in central
Africa, where although Pygmies and average-size humans look
different and maintain different communities, there's a lot of
intermarriage. Tolkien above doesn't completely rule out the
possibility that the Wild Men and the Dunlendings were very
distantly related, but makes it clear that the Dead Men of
Dunharrow were more closely related to the Dunlendings than the
Wild Men were.

AC

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Dec 10, 2004, 10:58:56 AM12/10/04
to
On 10 Dec 2004 15:25:42 GMT,
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Well, I think Appendix F makes it pretty clear:
>> "Wholly alien was the speech of the Wild Men of Druadan Forest. Alien too,
>> or remotely akin, was the language of the Dunlendings. These were a remnant
>> of the peoples that had dwelt in the vales of the White Mountains in ages
>> past. The Dead Men of Dunharrow were their kin."
>
> Yep, that's pretty definitive. :-) Thanks.
>
> I guess I was thinking of situations like in central
> Africa, where although Pygmies and average-size humans look
> different and maintain different communities, there's a lot of
> intermarriage. Tolkien above doesn't completely rule out the
> possibility that the Wild Men and the Dunlendings were very
> distantly related, but makes it clear that the Dead Men of
> Dunharrow were more closely related to the Dunlendings than the
> Wild Men were.

It seems pretty obvious that the Druedain were, at that time, the bottom men
on the pole. It's hard to imagine the Rohirrim being cruel and hunting any
man, but I don't think Ghan-buri-ghan was lying.

Jens Kilian

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Dec 10, 2004, 12:39:18 PM12/10/04
to
"John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> writes:
> Again, according to Pratchett, this is on the lines of 'Behave, you bugger,
> or I'll have your balls on the anvil'.

That's what I alluded to, further down the article :-)

DylanBD

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Dec 10, 2004, 9:40:04 PM12/10/04
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> This, then, leads me to ask about the difference
> between "I should not say that" and "I would not say that"
> -- and the same with "you" substituted for "I".

Yep. It's "I shouldn't say that if I were you." In fact I think this is an
embedded construction that survived in usage longer than the rest of the
shall/will rule.


Michele Fry

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Dec 11, 2004, 2:32:07 AM12/11/04
to
In article <86tud.7441$yr1....@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>,
DylanBD <dbryan...@yahoo.com> writes

>> This, then, leads me to ask about the difference
>> between "I should not say that" and "I would not say that"
>> -- and the same with "you" substituted for "I".
>
>Yep. It's "I shouldn't say that if I were you." In fact I think this is an
>embedded construction that survived in usage longer than the rest of the
>shall/will rule.

Personally I always decide whether to say should/would on the basis of
whether I mean "I ought not to say that" (in which case I use "should")
or "I don't think that's correct/true" (in which case I use "would"). So
I should not say this, but I hate much of Christmas. I would not say
that I hate all of Christmas !

Michele
==
"The purpose of art is to make the unconscious conscious." Wagner
==
Now reading: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke

Jim Deutch

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Dec 13, 2004, 11:55:25 AM12/13/04
to
On Thu, 9 Dec 2004 20:58:30 -0800, "Shanahan" <pog...@NOTbluefrog.com>
wrote:

>Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net>
>declared:
>
>> Chapter of the Week
>> The Lord of the Rings (The Return of the King)
>> Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company"
>
>> 2. The Debate of Eowyn and Aragorn
>> This beautiful passage is a kind of Tolkien set-piece:
>> a romantically-charged debate between a male character and a
>> female character, about some issue of greater import than just
>> the romance. Tolkien uses this device at least three more times
>> that I can think of: the debate between Eowyn and Faramir in
>> RotK Book 6, chapter V, "The Steward and the King"; the last
>> discussion between Aragorn and Arwen, in RotK Appendix A part
>> 1(v); and the "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth", or "Colloquy of
>> Finrod and Andreth", published in Christopher Tolkien's series
>> _The History of Middle-Earth_, in book X, _Morgoth's Ring_. [16]
>
>Very interesting and perceptive point! I wonder if we could add the
>debate between the Ents and the Entwives? The Entwives aren't there
>themselves to argue their side, but the Elves are their proxies, by
>virtue of their song, which Treebeard sings.

Oh, yes! Excellent catch: that is one of my favorites!

><snip>


>
>I think these are some of the best (only?) lines in the book spoken
>on behalf of women. They've always struck me as much more than mere
>"bitterness". Eowyn is speaking for all women who've wanted to
>fight for their homes and their land just as their men do. And
>wanted credit for it, too.
>
>"'A time may come soon,' [Aragorn] said, 'when none will return.
>Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall
>remember the deeds that are done in the last defence of your homes.
>Yet the deeds will be no less valiant because they are unpraised.'
> And she answered, 'All your words are but to say: you are a
>woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in
>battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the
>men will need it no more."

Another favorite. Tolkien is sometimes accused of having no female
characters, but when he does use them, they are often quite excellent.

><snip>
>> himself died. Baldor was presumably fascinated by this; later,
>> at a banquet, he swore an oath that he would tread the Paths of
>> the Dead. (A scene straight out of Norse sagas.)
>
>Aided by much hearty quaffing of grog and mead, I'm sure. <g>

Quaff (v): much like drinking, but involving a lot more spilling.
(after Pratchett)

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
We may have lost our moral compass but we still have our chaste
sextant, our modest flashlight, our ethical pen knife, and our
virtuous canteen. -- jwkinraleigh

Dirk Thierbach

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Dec 14, 2004, 3:33:25 AM12/14/04
to
Shanahan <pog...@notbluefrog.com> wrote:

> In earlier outlines, IIRC, the Stone of Erech was supposed to be one
> of the palantiri.

Do you mean the note in WotR, 'Many Roads Lead Eastward'? The draft
just says "For one thing, that there are yet other Stones. One is at
Erech and that is where we are going." That could still refer to a
palantir in the Tower of Erech, as in the other texts. The draft
continues with the struck out sentence "At the Stone of Erech Men
shall ... be seen." Maybe Christopher Tolkien thinks that this
describes a Palantir, but it's struck out in any case, maybe just
because Tolkien thinks that "Stone of Erech" in this context could be
confusing :-)

So I cannot follow CT completely when he says in the note that "the most
natural interpretation" is that the Stone of Erech is a Palantir.

> It does sound a lot like an enormous, inert palantir.

I think it more sounds like a one of the stone-age relicts one can still
see in England. Similar to the standing stones on the Barrow Downs.

But that's an external answer, not an internal one to the question
"why brought Isildur this Stone at placed it there".

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Dec 14, 2004, 3:17:09 AM12/14/04
to
Shanahan <pog...@notbluefrog.com> wrote:
> Tolkien's changing concept of the Druedain is interesting to me, and
> some of it is hinted at here.
> The name 'Pukel' is derived from "Old English púcel (still surviving
> as /puckle/), .... referring to a devil, or to a minor sprite such
> as Puck, and often applied to ugly misshapen persons."
> Even earlier in the writing process, Tolkien had the Rohirrim call
> them "the /Hoker-men/, from Old English /hocor/ 'mockery, derision,
> scorn'." (HoME VIII, see below)

That's funny. I have always associated 'Pukel' with German 'Buckel'
(hump), because they were so misshapen. And reading 'Hoker-men', I
would associated them with German 'Höcker' (which also means hump).

Assuming Tolkien knew German well enough, was this similarity intended?
My dictionary says that in both cases, the etymology is different.

[...]

> But even in LotR, the underground journeys only fit the standard
> stuff of myth very loosely.

And I'd say that's the important point.

- Dirk

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Dec 14, 2004, 3:02:27 AM12/14/04
to
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message <m...@privacy.net> wrote:
> [5] Is there anything special about the standard? Is it, like,
> magical or something? Or is it just a really nice standard?

It's a sign of Aragorns claim as heir of Isildur Elendil; of the
"Return Of The King" out of forgotten history, if you want. Maybe
that's "magical" enough, for some definitions of "magic".

> [7] This is the chapter where Aragorn really starts to get
> "magical" results out of his claim to the Kingship.

See? :-)

> [9] If the horses of the Rohirrim are so great, then why is it
> the horses of the Dunedain that are led more easily into the
> Paths?

"Great" doesn't mean "fearless". The horses of the Rohirrim may be
stronger, faster and more enduring; but the Dunedain have a stronger
"personality" (to use the modern word), and therefore their horses
will follow them.

> And what are the words that Legolas speaks to Arod the
> horse that allow him to be led into the Paths? Is it a magic
> spell?

I don't think so. Elves seem to be able to speak to their horses,
and their horses seem to understand them (cf. Glorfindel at the Ford).
If you want, that's magic :-) So Legolas is probably just telling
his horse to be calm, to have no fear, and to trust him.

> [11] Why did Tolkien make Isildur, more closely associated with
> the North, into the one who got the Dead-to-be to swear their
> oath, and the one who cursed them?

Probably because otherwise Aragorn, as heir of Isildur, would not be
able to call them upon their oath.

BTW, one thing I noticed only recently is that the Host of the
Dead borrows many motives from the "Wild Hunt" legend: The sounds
of a great host without being able to see them, one particular
haunted gathering place, and so on. Here in Germany, there are many
"localized" versions of this legend, and AFAIK it was known in England,
too.

> [15] Why did Isildur bring a big round black stone in his ship
> from Numenor to set at Erech?

I have always wondered about this myself. Maybe it's the same
kind of idea as the Cats of the Queen Beruthiel...

- Dirk

Troels Forchhammer

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Dec 14, 2004, 4:22:57 AM12/14/04
to
in <2004121408332...@ID-7776.user.dfncis.de>,
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> enriched us with:
>
> Shanahan <pog...@notbluefrog.com> wrote:
>>

<snip>

[The Stone of Erech]

>> It does sound a lot like an enormous, inert palantir.
>
> I think it more sounds like a one of the stone-age relicts one can
> still see in England. Similar to the standing stones on the Barrow
> Downs.

I think Shanahan meant the appearance:

" Long had the terror of the Dead lain upon that hill and
upon the empty fields about it. For upon the top stood a
black stone, round as a great globe, the height of a man,
though its half was buried in the ground. Unearthly it
looked, as though it had fallen from the sky, as some
believed; but those who remembered still the lore of
Westernesse told that it had been brought out of the ruin
of Númenor and there set by Isildur at his landing."

I'd agree with her that this does sound a lot like a very large palantír.

> But that's an external answer, not an internal one to the question
> "why brought Isildur this Stone at placed it there".

And how on Middle-earth did they have room (and boyancy) for a man-high
stone globe? And then, upon their landing, to have it transported all the
way to Erech just to put it on/in the ground?

All of the other things we hear they brought with them out of the
Akallabêth sound reasonable both in significance and size, but this
stone?

For all we know about it, it might just be a 'little stone' Isildur
picked up at the beach before they left because he liked it ;-)

--
Troels Forchhammer

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men
are almost always bad men.
- Lord Acton, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887.

Dirk Thierbach

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Dec 15, 2004, 5:12:21 AM12/15/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> enriched us with:
>> Shanahan <pog...@notbluefrog.com> wrote:

>> I think it more sounds like a one of the stone-age relicts one can
>> still see in England. Similar to the standing stones on the Barrow
>> Downs.

> I think Shanahan meant the appearance:

Yes. So did I.

> [...] For upon the top stood a black stone, round as a great


> globe, the height of a man, though its half was buried in the
> ground. Unearthly it looked, as though it had fallen from the

> sky, as some believed; [...]

Have you ever seen a standing stone? Leaving aside the color and the shape,
that's an exact description.

And I imagine palantiri a bit differently: Since they are made of deep
black glass or crystal, their surface would look completely different
from stone. The only similarities here are "round and black".

> And how on Middle-earth did they have room (and boyancy) for a man-high
> stone globe?

That shouldn't be so difficult. There was certainly room for something
of this size on a ship. Let's estimate the weight: Quick googling
shows that the density of granite (to pick some kind of stone) is
about 2.7 t/m^3. If the stone was 2 m in diameter ("man-high"), then
it has a volume of a bit more than 4 m^3, i.e. a weight of about 12 t.
Another quick googling finds http://www.adp.fsu.edu/fow_can.html,
which describes cannons used on a sailing ship. One 9-pounder cannon
weighs 1.5 t, so the stone would weigh as much as 8 cannons. There
were 22 9-pounder and 20 18-pounder cannons on this ship. So weight is
not a problem, either, if one assumes the Numenoreans could built
wooden sailing ships of the same size (which is reasonable).

> And then, upon their landing, to have it transported all the
> way to Erech just to put it on/in the ground?

In the same way standing stones were moved, or the pyramids were
built: With a lot of manual labour (probably using the inhabitants of
this region as work force), and clever mechanical devices. IIRC
some of the standing stones are heavier than 12t, and you can find
sometimes *lots* of them in one place :-)

> All of the other things we hear they brought with them out of the
> Akallabêth sound reasonable both in significance and size, but this
> stone?

Yes. As I said, maybe it's similar to the Cats of the Queen Beruthiel:
Something that Tolkien just had on his mind, and he didn't find
a good explanation for.

- Dirk

Taemon

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Dec 15, 2004, 12:36:11 PM12/15/04
to
Dirk Thierbach wrote:

> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> > [...] For upon the top stood a black stone, round as
> > a great globe, the height of a man, though its half
> > was buried in the ground. Unearthly it looked, as
> > though it had fallen from the sky, as some believed;
> > [...]
> Have you ever seen a standing stone? Leaving aside the
> color and the shape, that's an exact description.

Methinks that colour and shape are quite instrumental to the
description of stones :-)

> If the stone was 2 m in diameter ("man-high"),

Twice "man-high". About 3.60 m.

T.


Jette Goldie

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Dec 15, 2004, 3:52:06 PM12/15/04
to

"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message
news:32bb0kF...@individual.net...


Most standing stones I've seen aren't round like a buried
globe - a rough sort of squared off effect.


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


Shanahan

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Dec 24, 2004, 4:33:13 AM12/24/04
to
Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> declared:

<snip>


> BTW, one thing I noticed only recently is that the Host of the
> Dead borrows many motives from the "Wild Hunt" legend: The sounds
> of a great host without being able to see them, one particular
> haunted gathering place, and so on. Here in Germany, there are
> many "localized" versions of this legend, and AFAIK it was known
> in England, too.

Oh, cool! The Wild Hunt is one of my favorite images/themes from
old folklore. It's present in Celtic legend, as well.

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


Shanahan

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Dec 24, 2004, 4:30:01 AM12/24/04
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Dirk Thierbach <dthie...@gmx.de> declared:

> Shanahan <pog...@notbluefrog.com> wrote:
>
>> In earlier outlines, IIRC, the Stone of Erech was supposed to be
>> one of the palantiri.
>
> Do you mean the note in WotR, 'Many Roads Lead Eastward'? The
> draft just says "For one thing, that there are yet other Stones.
> One is at Erech and that is where we are going." That could still
> refer to a palantir in the Tower of Erech, as in the other texts.

Yes, that's the quote I was referring to:
[Aragorn coming out of the Hornburg after looking into the palantir]
"To know that I lived and walked the earth was something of a blow
to his heart, and certainly he will now hasten all his strokes --
but they will be the less ripe. And then I learned much. For one


thing, that there are yet other Stones. One is at Erech and that is
where we are going."

And a similar quote from the next draft:
"And I learned much. For one thing, that there are other Stones yet
preserved in this ancient land. One is at Erech."

Up to this point, the capitalized "Stones" has only been used to
refer to palantiri. That, and the presence of a Tower at Erech in
the early drafts, gave me the impression that it might be a palantir
in Tolkien's early thinking. (Or not. <g>)

Ciaran S.
--
Beware all enterprises which require new clothes.


R. Dan Henry

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Jan 2, 2005, 1:49:15 AM1/2/05
to
On Mon, 06 Dec 2004 22:48:42 -0800, AC <mightym...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>I think it's likely because Gimli is, next to the Hobbits, the closest
>to the level of the reader.

Are you calling me short?!?

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

R. Dan Henry

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Jan 2, 2005, 1:49:29 AM1/2/05
to
On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 09:02:27 +0100, Dirk Thierbach <