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following the Fellowship, TWO TOWERS begins post 281 - Page 8

post #141 of 318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubergine68 View Post
I honestly found that poetry annoying to read, much as I like the character of Tom. I couldn't "hear" it in my head the way I can the rest of the verse in LOTR.
I'm glad I'm not teh only one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
More about our merry trickster, and a glimpse of why he really wouldn't make a good ring guardian. Has anyone else noticed that no one ever comes out and tells Frodo what to do? The elves, Tom, Gandalf... they all just suggest or give information or offer options. But even though Frodo sometimes asks straight out, no body "gives" him solutions.
Which is really odd in a way... he's a youngish hobbit, they are old to the point of ancient & wise... and he's under the influence of a corrupt ring lol. You'd THINK they would all be watching him like a hawk & guiding his every step considering all that. But then the books would be much shorter lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aweynsayl View Post
i just had to pop on and see where we are... i'm afraid i've read a bit ahead..... cant help it. strider called to me, and well.....
guilty as well My books are from the library so sadly I can't keep the leisurely pace (even if I could STOP myself from reading!) because I can only renew so many times hehe.
post #142 of 318
Thread Starter 
Riddlemaster- Good book to read with kiddos, especially girl kiddos actually since the second book is very "cool girl" focused. We almost named dd1 after one of the characters! Many of McKillips earily books are very "pro girl" in that there is no real sense that a girl doing something serious is in any way unusual... there's no social surprise but also no social encouragement. It's just assumed that every person has those options/abilities. Equally, male characters aren't exclusively warriors or scholars. It's ok to walk away from a career in politics because it violates your beliefs, it's ok to cry, it's ok to be silly, a character can be "good" or "bad" or "mixed" without regard for their gender or station in life. And altough there is some violence and a few scary moments the series is certainly no scarier than say the first two Potter books (though it was written for an adult market, recent releases say young adult).

Cari, we are sooooo going to have to find you your own copies!
post #143 of 318
Thread Starter 
Week Eight Chapter Eight

Fog on the Barrow-Downs


This chapter always seems odd to me... I'm not sure why it's there exactly. Maybe Old Man Willow is a prep for physical danger/temptation of the flesh (sleep sleeeeep just go to sleeeeeeeep) while the Barrow-wright is a prep for spiritual danger/temptation of the spirit (no one would blame you, save yourself)? But we have had close encounters with the riders, so the Barrow wright isn't exaztly Frodo's first brush with danger tht goes beyond the flesh.

It does get the hobbits their swords, gives us one last visit with Tom and Goldberry, a flash of the history of the world, and the intro of Mr Underhill. (and I would have loved to pick through that pile of pretties! And hear the story of the woman who wore the brooch... it seemed like Tom had known her?)

But I wonder... anyone else have a strong feeling or opinion about "why" the Barrow Downs?
post #144 of 318
I haven't finished rereading this chapter yet. I don't think I've ever really read it before -- I always skim through to get to Bree. So I guess it is kind of odd.

Maybe it would be odder to jump right from the comfortable life with hints of danger in the Shire to the life of peril that imperils not only Frodo's life, but his soul and the safety/survival of all good in the world?

Old Man Willow and the Barrow Downs are just tests, but ones Frodo passes with ease. Sorta like Bilbo and the trolls? Ok, I have to ETA -- no, Frodo doesn't pass the tests with ease. He needs Tom Bombadil's help. But he and the others emerge unscathed.

Frodo does get his mithril-coat of mail at the Barrow-downs, right? (Haven't got to that part yet) That is a fairly significant prop....
post #145 of 318
Thread Starter 
Mithril coat- that is actually Bilbo's and Frodo gets it in Rivendell (where he also gets Sting, having lost his Barrow blade by then).

I agree that it may be a sort of prop for gradual seperation... moving slowly and steadily from relative comfort to relative danger. And learning that you can ask for help is an important part of Frodo's journey. Though the past few chapters seem to suggest that simly asking for help means a swift and positive resolution with little more effort on your own part (ask and the Elves give you travel company/food/conversation/safe slumber, Farmer Maggot gives you dinner and a wagon and extra mushrooms, Merry has the house all set up, the group has your travel stuff set, Tom defeats the Willow/provides shelter/defeats the Barrow Wright/provides transport, etc). Ah well, that theme does actually repeat a lot... if you can bring yourself to ask, a lot can be accomplished.

And I agree with the upthread comment about Frodo seeming kind of clueless and how odd it is that none of the "wise" (or at least slightly more clued in folk) don't want to offer specific advice. Almost a case of fools rushing in... no one wants to scare Frodo off, and no one wants the ultimate responsibility of having suggested the "wrong thing".
post #146 of 318
mmm.. have thought on that last bit about advice. involves relating to midwives and not telling women specifics about birth... and the difficulties of helping people to learn how to figure things out on their own....... but i'm too tired and needing shower to make it coherent and insightful.... really, i just was looking to see how far ahead i am.... problem is, once we meet up with a certain dashing figure, it gets hard for me to read slowwwly. alas.
post #147 of 318
Quote:
Originally Posted by aweynsayl View Post
problem is, once we meet up with a certain dashing figure, it gets hard for me to read slowwwly. alas.
Hehe guilty as well *gryn* I'm in the TT already But it's just so GOOD!!! that I can't not read it lol.

The barrow seemed to me to be like a glimpse that weirder than just 'black riders' were going to try to stop him. Possibly like a bit of an introduction into ..evil forces/magic/something unknown? (just ignore me if I sound like a fruitcake lol)
post #148 of 318
I agree with Wombatclay, and also think Tolkien was giving us (and perhaps Frodo) a bit of a glimpse into Middle Earth history: the Shire was colonized in the center of an ancient kingdom which, had it lasted, would have been Aragorn's. There are still remnants of the downfall of that kingdom everywhere, including in the haunted barrows. So I think part of what JRRT was implying was that not all evil things are directly related to Mordor.

BUT as I'm typing that a train of thought has just gone rolling through my head: the barrows were the ancient burial grounds for the kings of Cardolan who were Numenoreans and enemies of the Witch King of Angmar (the Nazgul Lord). After a great battle which nearly destroyed the Cardolan army the Witch King sent a plague that essentially destroyed them, then he sent the barrow wights to keep their sister kingdom Arthedain from re-populating Cardolan. With me so far? SO, the barrow wights even after all those centuries were still in the command of the Nazgul Lord and would have been forced to hand over the Ring to him if they had succeeded in killing Frodo.

And for those who haven't read to the end yet:

Warning :: Spoiler Ahead! Highlight to read message!
ALSO (and this is where the train sort of picked up speed), after being set free the hobbits received their Cardolan blades and Merry used his blade to at last break the protective enchantment on the Nazgul Lord and wound him so that Eowyn could defeat him. The last echo of vengeance from the destroyed kingdoms of Arnor which Aragorn would have inherited had the Witch King not succeeded in destroying them. So if Merry hadn't received that specific blade he would not have been able to break the Nazgul defense and bring victory to the battle at Minas Tirith.
post #149 of 318
Thread Starter 
DancingDoula- yeah, I love the way so many little tiny "throw away" things turn out to be significant. Both on a personal level since I believe very strongly in the "ripple effect" (on a social and spiritual plane), but also because I feel it makes the sagas more realistic. You just never know if this act or that door or these choices will create the necessary downstream moment. And I'm a history junkie.

Read-Ahead mamas- ahhhhhhh, but the joy of a book is that you can read those bits over and over and over! No need to visit our dark haired ranger just the once! You'll have to come back for the rest of the class and share the experience again. Actually, I have a friend who is completely, 100%, Boromir obsessed. She really only reads from Rivendell to the Falls. Everything else in the saga is just kind of there to give Boromir a place to be.

Two Towers and RoTK- those are going to be harder for me. I love and adore the Fellowship, but given a choice (and given the chapter divides in the saga) it is much too easy for me to ONLY follow the "outgoing" portion of the company while ignoring the "ingoing" portion. As a young adult I habitually skipped the chapters that dealt with Sam and Frodo, jumping directly to the chapters focused on the other elements of the company. I mean, I "knew" what was going on with Sam and Frodo so why read it again? Since I'm really going slow and forcing myself to read deeper into the saga this time I know I'm going to be a bawling mess.

Actually, the LoTR blindsided me in several ways the first time I heard it and/or read it myself. I was really really young (I'd read them on my own and read the Sillmarilion as well by the time I was 6yo, and my dad read them to us when I was a good deal younger than that) so that explains a lot of it, but I remember crying off and on for weeks after finishing the books. And checking the ending of other books for years to "see who is around at the end" so that I could avoid deep emotional attachment to characters that might disappoint me. Sort of an odd psychological revelation I know.

Evil- I totally agree that Sauron is not the be all and end all of evil in Middle Earth. If for not other reason than he was Melkor's pet for ages and ages prior to Melkor/Morgoth being cast out. And individuals like Ungoliant are nasty all on their own, no extra badness required. Gimli actually says something about Caradhras (a mountain) having earned the title "the Cruel" long before Sauron's time.... sort of reminding people that Sauron is certainly out to get them, but he isn't the ONLY thing that can kill them.

Hmmmm... I forget what book, show, movie it was, but I vaguely recall a media based discussion of that point. That yes there are big goods and evils working in the world, but more than likely you'll die by falling into a hole while not paying attention.
post #150 of 318
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancindoula View Post
I agree with Wombatclay, and also think Tolkien was giving us (and perhaps Frodo) a bit of a glimpse into Middle Earth history: the Shire was colonized in the center of an ancient kingdom which, had it lasted, would have been Aragorn's. There are still remnants of the downfall of that kingdom everywhere, including in the haunted barrows. So I think part of what JRRT was implying was that not all evil things are directly related to Mordor.
YES, *that* is what I think I was dancing around trying to say earlier lol! As far as the spoiler (no haven't read ALL the way through, but I couldn't resist hehe) OMG I never knew that little tidbit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
Actually, I have a friend who is completely, 100%, Boromir obsessed. She really only reads from Rivendell to the Falls. Everything else in the saga is just kind of there to give Boromir a place to be.

Quote:
That yes there are big goods and evils working in the world, but more than likely you'll die by falling into a hole while not paying attention.
Ya know the irony of that is staggering lol.
post #151 of 318
and the chances of my falling into that hole whilst reading a book about the forces of evil and good.....

post #152 of 318
Quote:
Originally Posted by aweynsayl View Post
and the chances of my falling into that hole whilst reading a book about the forces of evil and good.....

OH NOES!!!!! My books have to return to the library today *sigh* I was SURE I could renew them one more time I shall return to the library later & see if they are reshelved & check it out again hehehe
post #153 of 318
Thread Starter 
Week Nine Chapter Nine

At the Sign of the Prancing Pony


Tall! Dark! Mysterious! The best beer in Bree.

We've reached The Prancing Pony and another chance to rest and relax before the next challenge. Unless maybe maintaining one's composure in a seemingly friendly place is a challenge (which would be yet another "swin and a miss" for our newly adventuring foursome).

I find it interesting that Merry is once more "off to the side" of the action, not right in the thick of the tap room but taking a walk and getting air. Pippin's comment that it's safe inside than it is out does play out somewhat, but I think the balance of this chapter shows that "letting loose" inside can be even more dangerous. I don't know that I'd ever really noticed how capable/mature/independent Merry is. I think he and Pippin usually get blended together in my mind because of how the fellowship plays out but really they have very different personalities and each on their own they are very capable/confident/caring individuals. Just somehow when they're together they just get goofy!

And of course there is that other tall dark mysterious element introduced in this chapter...

post #154 of 318
yessss. i'm on more familiar territory now, lol.

i agree about m&p blending in one's head later on. but now that i'm reading it, i do remember m standing more apart. maybe specifically for that specific event in this chapter? seems a bit much, but it had to happen, right?

clay, any thoughts on the bit where we get a real glimpse into the future with the fate of certain four-legged creatures (not wanting to give spoilers, but ykwim?)? why offer that bit up? it seemed a bit... out of character thus far, to let us in on the "result" so to speak....
post #155 of 318
Thread Starter 
I think it comes down to what Tolkien thought he was doing. At first the Ring saga was going to be a continuation of the Hobbit... and the Hobbit is a book for children. So there are elements early in the Ring saga that are sort of more "tonal" for a child's story. Little glimpses here and there, little jokes or silly songs, lighter moments that don't do much to advance plot.

But as the story grew it became much bigger and older and mythic... and Tolkien edited out or back elements that no longer fit. Some of the bits stayed where they were though and so in the early chapters of FoTR there are a few odd moments where something feels very much "from a different story".

At least, that's the story that works for me!

My other thought is Tolkien must have had a soft spot for those four leggers since he steps out of the norm later on as well specifically to explain the fate of another 4 foot. Not sure why, but he seems happy to put everyone else through the wringer!
post #156 of 318
yeah, that's what it felt like-- "ok, kiddos, i know you're worried about those guys, but they're ok! here's what happened...." lol.
post #157 of 318
I wonder too if he might have been (maybe somewhat purposefully) emphasizing the more "innocent" view of life in the Shire - everything, even the way the narrative runs, being a bit more childlike and sheltered - to contrast with life outside the Hobbits' borders. Right now they have the luxury of being concerned about favorite creatures, but later they'll have to worry about things as elemental as "do I eat this one morsel of food for today's meal or save it to help my friend keep his strength up."

I don't know. Maybe I'm making a point where there is no point to be made, but it just seems in my mind like everything between Hobbiton and Bree represents all that is good and wholesome and childlike, while everything beyond that is darker and harsher thus the narrative becoming darker and harsher too. It seems to pick up a bit of that lighter tone again when they return to the Shire, don't you think?
post #158 of 318
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm... I see that connection as they leave the Shire, but I'm not so sure about the return.

I was thinking about Merry and Pippin the other day when I went to pick up dd1 at her playschool and the closing circle really brought something into focus for me. The Hobbits (at least Merry and Pippin) are very similar to the circle of 3 year olds reciting the
Quote:
We are straight
We are strong
We are valiant and bold
verse with the motions (standing up straight, flexing their muscles, etc). Not childish as such but childlike... valiant and true and strong in their friendships even though they may not actually "know" what that will mean or cost them in the future.

It was more clear in my mind yesterday, watching the littles, and it's a bit muddled now but I'll see if I can get that moment of clarity back!
post #159 of 318
Catching up....

Ok, this is the third time I've tried to post a reply here! Must keep it short!

In the last chapter, anyone else have a Diana Gabaldon flash when Frodo stepped between the stones into the power of the Barrow-wight?

In this chapter, I just ache at the bit when they approach the inn and Sam is almost undone just by the size of the Big People's houses and wondering how he can find the courage to meet the real adventures that are coming....

I love the muddled up awkwardness in the pub -- the Breelanders inundating the supposed researcher Mr Underhill with material for his book, and then dropping him when "he showed no signs of writing a book on the spot".

I also love the song The Man in the Moon, maybe the best of all the songs in LOTR. I was googling to see if I could find a version of it online, but could not. Anyone know of a recording?
post #160 of 318
Thread Starter 
Week Ten Chapter Ten

Strider


Can I get a wiggle and a w00t? Strider has arrived on the scene, Merry has had a close encounter of a Dark Rider kind, the post post post script has entered the story, and Butterbur is in danger of being roasted.

It's a short chapter, but one that has some interesting depth. The hobbits meet their first long term champion (farmer Maggot and Tom having their own obligations and limits... the farm, the old forest) and learn a bit more about the larger scope/implications of their journey. And of course we get to see Strider's silly side (though his logic is pretty good in terms of being able to lay claim to the ring by force if he wanted it).
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