Lord of The Rings..a reading group

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Thor 'n' Oakenshield » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:37 am

A Shortcut To Mushrooms is one of my favorite chapters, and I think it's, well, (a) as rwhen pointed out, the mushrooms, and (b) because in this chapter, even more so than in the Hobbiton chapters I think, we get a really vivid look at the Shire. The little fields, the hedges, the farmland and the river winding through it all. I love the image Tolkien paints here of an idyllic patch of the country being threatened by a nameless, shapeless fear riding its roads, moving silently through its forests, watching its borders with unsleeping eyes. It's an odd balance, but Tolkien manages it so perfectly: specifically, I'm thinking of Pippin's ridiculous little drinking-song in the woods, interrupted by the shrill scream of a Black Rider. Or how a humorous conversation about Frodo being a former mushroom-thief gets serious when Farmer Maggot tells them about the visit from the Black Rider earlier that day. This chapter is full of those little shifts in the balance, where a light and cheerful situation abruptly grows dark - but I love how Tolkien ends the chapter with a reversal of that, too, having Frodo and friends think that the rider approaching through the fog is a Black Rider, only to discover its Merry Brandybuck! This is absolutely one of my favorite chapters.

I got through Shadow of the Past and Three is Company without too many things to say. I love Gildor and his band of Elves, and I always find it amusing how singularly unhelpful they appear to be at first (why can't you stay until the morning, Gildor? hmm?), but how much they actually reveal and foreshadow.

Your comments about the power of the Ring are all very interesting: Tolkien never reveals how "alive" it really is, but we know it has a will of its own and it is always weighing the probabilities in its...mind?...about how best to get back to Sauron. For instance, it determined independently that Gollum was of no use, and it abandoned him - but Gandalf specifically says it didn't anticipate Bilbo finding it; how could it? The probability of a hobbit being in that tunnel, beneath the Misty Mountains, at that exact time, was probably slim to none. It presumably wanted to be picked up by a goblin, who would have carried it away from the mountains on one of the nightly goblin-raids down to the valley, towards Mirkwood, towards Dol Guldur. The thought of it is chilling! But while we know that the Ring had determined all of that, or at least had a plan, we don't know anything of its...thought-process?...after that. How much did it influence Bilbo's actions? We don't know. Or do we? Thinking about it, you have to consider: the Ring is looking for a way back to Sauron, right? But it can't get there when it's stuck in the Shire - so naturally, the one person it would stick to is Bilbo, who at that time is pretty much the only adventurous hobbit in the Shire. One has to wonder if Bilbo's sudden desire to go on a holiday, a permanent holiday, is partly inspired by the Ring. And Bilbo (or, the Ring working through Bilbo) desperately tries to leave Bag-end the night after the party: Bilbo almost walks out the door with it, he's so eager to get away. But is it him, or the Ring? And is that why Gandalf is so intent on leaving the Ring with Frodo, who, remember, is still in love with the Shire, with little fields and rivers? You can only imagine what a blow it was to the Ring, which had probably spent so much time urging Bilbo to move, to get out of the Shire and into the outside world, where servants of the Enemy could waylay him. It's pretty scary, come to think of it!
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:40 am

It is interesting to think about..the power of the Ring. When JRRT wrote the Hobbit, I don't recall him writing specifically with the thought of it being "the One Ring" ..I am not certain he added that particular lore into both LOTR and the Sil after the Hobbit was published..which makes it all the more interesting in my opinion...maybe the Ring lured JRRT into revealing itself so that future generations would have these wonderful stories!! lol


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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby rwhen » Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:43 pm

Oh folks.....great stuff that I really need to read carefully before commenting and then putting my views on the last two chapters of the three...

Witchie...could you please give this a few more days before moving forward???

I was called in yesterday for an unexpected 8 hour shift (normally we work part time only about 4.5 hours a shift) and then got a call to open this morning for a regular shift...so in the last three days I have worked a full week...and still have two days on Friday and Saturday. I am off the next two days and will be able to catch up.

But I understand if you need to move forward. :)
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:29 pm

Of course rwhen!! I like the slow movement of this thread, gives everyone a chance to chime in. It's easy to go back and discuss previously read chapters, since we have all read the books, no worries over spoilers or anything like that, if we bring up something that occurs later in the books or Sil that is relevant to the chapters we are discussing :D

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby rwhen » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:23 am

Thank you friend Witchie!! :hug: Okay....good nights sleep and here I am at almost 10am on a day off. First order of business is to write on this thread. :D

Both you and Thor'n have great observations on THE Ring and why it seemed to go wrong...but yet right in the end, sort of....with Gollum losing it to Bilbo and then passing it to Frodo. I don't know that Frodo intended to leave the Shire....he dreamed of it because of the stories of Bilbo....but not until Gandalf made it clear that the ring could NOT stay at Bag End or the Shire and gave away the whole story and history to Frodo...does Frodo then really get it. Was the ring influencing Gandalf? I don't think so. I think the Ring wanted back to the Dark Lord....but their intention was to destroy it all along and come in secret. We won't know I suppose what potency the ring had at the time we are reading right now.....Gollum would never have given up his precioussss and Bilbo in the end (and even in Rivendell) he had a hard time of it.....So as the story moves forward....

A Conspiracy Unmasked....
I don't have a ton to write on this. Except one pervading feeling....this is the last time that Frodo really has any sort of fun with his friends. Playing and splashing in the bath with a lovely supper to share before the revealing of the conspiracy. It all reads so innocent and even though Sam, Merry and Pippin show a lot of bravery to be willing to go....they have no idea what that means. I also forgot how much Merry was a little sneaky Hobbit when Bilbo was around. Hummpft....

The Old Forest....

After reading your comments.....it made me wonder more about the Old Forest. If ya'll are ever in a desire to know more about a single thing in the books....check out "Tolkien Gateway". It is a marvel of information. I will give a bit of what it says about the subject in hopes that we all get a bit more informed on why The Forest was so dangerous to ultimately lead to Old Man Willow.

The Old Forest is one of the vast primordial forests of ME. Being there for a very very long time including before the Nuemenormeans or "the wars of Sauron". But what made it so hostile? That was the question, right? This gives us the answer. It was NOT about the Ring or Sauron...or anything to do with that. When the Hobbits came to settle the land between the Brandywine and The Old Forest, so they could build their homes....they cut down a large swath and many trees were fell to make rooms for their houses. They erected the huge hedge...and when the Forest threatened to encroach upon the Hedge...they cut the trees back again many times over and made the "Bonfire" area. The trees became very hostile even evil minded. They did all manner of things to mislead travelers in the Forest, but their hatred did not stem from the East or Mordor, it was because of those who destroyed so much of them, the ones who killed their families off.....when Hobbits did travel in the Forest, they would lead them towards the Withywindle.....towards Old Man Willow (and ultimately the Barrow Downs)...... Old Man Willow was the most evil of the trees and controlled much the Forest. How did Bombadil come to be in that area at that time? ....he WAS checking it out before winter......but also his home is on the banks of the Wythwindle at the edge of the Forest. He knew Old Man Willow and his evil every well. Bombadil...."seemed to represent the good side of the Forest". So when something "bad" happened....he was the "good" to counteract that bad. When Old Man Willow trapped two of the Hobbits...he heard the others yelling and came to help. Now Bombadil might not have been in the area at all at that time....but it appears it has nothing to do with the ring.

I don't know about you folks....but it makes much more sense to me now.

As a side note....like everyone reading here, I have read THE books so many times....but rather than reading forward (which I already did through the Barron Downs), I am going to take the three chapters as they come. Maybe it will help to diversify how we all react.

Love this book discussion. I hope Tooks and Rose will jump in as they have time and I want to hear more from our Vandarlin'. :) Thank you Witchie for starting this for us. We can all use a bit of Tolkien in our day, right?
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The Expected Party!! is now on the road to Gondor to celebrate. Join us.

And getting into trouble with Rally The Eldar.

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Tookish_Traveler » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:36 pm

I am jumping in at the discussion on The Forest and Tom B. :)

My impression is that the Old Forest and it's malevolence is unrelated to Sauron and the ring. (Hey, rwhen and I seem to agree). ;)

As a pinko tree-hugger, I figure the wilderness has enough reasons to be hostile to us mortals without tossing in evil influences from the outside. Old Tom is a counter-influence to the forest, since Tolkien needed someone to rescue the hobbits! I have become more intrigued by Tom after multiple readings, and will have more to say as we get into the next chapters. Since Tolkien never really explained who or what Tom was, I can understand why he was omitted from the movie. For people sitting in the theater, who never read the books, there was already too much to take in.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby rwhen » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:31 am

Hey TOOKS....we agree!! *preens*

And I agree, the popcorn eaters would never have been able to absorb Ol' Tom...especially in such a serious "movie" as it was made and then comes ol' Tom in his bright clothing singing silly songs.....then gone with no other appearance in the movie....probably a good idea to omit him.

Okay...Tomorrow I am going to review the next three chapters.....
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:55 pm

That makes much sense rwhen...I've been reading Tolkien's letters simultaneously with the LOTR and those I find very insightful as well..but not as crammed full on particular knowledge that Gateway would be...

Tooks..pinko tree hugger..love it :D

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:06 pm

Next up:

7. In the House of Tom Bombadil

8. Fog on the Barrow-downs

9. At the Sign of the Prancing Pony




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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Thor 'n' Oakenshield » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:13 am

Oh good! These are some of my favorite chapters coming up.

I just wanted to add a little note to rwhen's observations on the Ring.

rwhen wrote:Both you and Thor'n have great observations on THE Ring and why it seemed to go wrong...but yet right in the end, sort of....with Gollum losing it to Bilbo and then passing it to Frodo. I don't know that Frodo intended to leave the Shire....he dreamed of it because of the stories of Bilbo....but not until Gandalf made it clear that the ring could NOT stay at Bag End or the Shire and gave away the whole story and history to Frodo...does Frodo then really get it. Was the ring influencing Gandalf? I don't think so. I think the Ring wanted back to the Dark Lord....but their intention was to destroy it all along and come in secret. We won't know I suppose what potency the ring had at the time we are reading right now.....Gollum would never have given up his precioussss and Bilbo in the end (and even in Rivendell) he had a hard time of it.....So as the story moves forward....


Yes, that's it - I believe the Ring must have wanted to get out of the Shire, which is why Gandalf felt it imperative (even before he knew exactly what it was) that it not leave. So he made sure it was entrusted to the stay-at-home Frodo: after all, it would have been a terrible blow to Gandalf's own plans if he had gone off on his seventeen-year long quest to discover if it was in fact the One Ring, only to come back and find that another Mad Baggins had run off into the blue, taking the Ring with him! It's an interesting thing to think about, anyway.

As for all your observations on the Old Forest, I agree entirely: the malice that the Forest has for humankind is not, I think, inspired by the devices of Sauron. In fact, I believe that, much later in the book, Treebeard mentions that the trees of the Old Forest are distantly related to those of his forest, and that they are perhaps a bit like the Huorns - more alive than normal trees, less alive than Ents. That's something else I would love to talk about, perhaps best saved for when we get to the Treebeard chapters (are we going that far?); what Treebeard refers to as the process of a tree turning Entish and Ents turning treeish.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby rwhen » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:09 am

Of course we are going that far.....I hope we are going "all the way". It will take some time....but to me, that is a good reading group...everyone has a chance to write their observations without any rush or distractions.....

Okay Witchie....I will be posting something this weekend. :D
Love is as big or as little as a hug!!

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The Expected Party!! is now on the road to Gondor to celebrate. Join us.

And getting into trouble with Rally The Eldar.

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:52 am

As for all your observations on the Old Forest, I agree entirely: the malice that the Forest has for humankind is not, I think, inspired by the devices of Sauron. In fact, I believe that, much later in the book, Treebeard mentions that the trees of the Old Forest are distantly related to those of his forest, and that they are perhaps a bit like the Huorns - more alive than normal trees, less alive than Ents. That's something else I would love to talk about, perhaps best saved for when we get to the Treebeard chapters (are we going that far?); what Treebeard refers to as the process of a tree turning Entish and Ents turning treeish.


yes, I agree somewhere in between,but why? Why are they not fully alive, but yet alive enough to hold malice in their hearts? I love that Tolkien, for all his seriousness in these novels, did choose to anamorphize (don't know if this is actually a word or not) some of his creations, from a fox to trees to birds.

I'll be back to write on TB and more
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Otaku-sempai » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:14 pm

Witchwench wrote:I love that Tolkien, for all his seriousness in these novels, did choose to anamorphize (don't know if this is actually a word or not) some of his creations, from a fox to trees to birds.

I'll be back to write on TB and more


i think the word you're looking for is anthropomorphize. We do see that in LotR, but even more so in The Hobbit.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby rwhen » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:38 am

That is the right word, Otaku...hope you will join in more often. :)

In the house of Tom Bombadil....

Easily and again, one of my favorite chapters and the reason we were called here to have a book discussion. What I learned from this chapter is much and little. Sort of what we know of ol' Tom. So as not to repeat....I think a few things that stand out are Goldberry....she is a stunning elf-like person and on the day after they arrived Tom explains the rain on the fact that Goldberry was "watering". I loved that. I would loved to have seen her garments on the big screen...how beautiful they must have been. Then the food, which was plentiful and delicious...certainly had no meats, which the Hobbits would eat meat...but not these forest, animal lovers. But yet there is no explanation of where the food came from...except "in the kitchen".....it is not mentioned that there were a lot of animals about, unlike say Beorn in The Hobbit. The last is the ring....that it had no affect on Tom...he didn't disappear when he put it on and yet could see Frodo when he slipped on the ring.....so outside of the "real" world of Middle Earth indeed. I'll leave others to expand on their thoughts.

Fog on the Barrow downs.....

What a frightening chapter. From Tolkien Gateway, for more information on the downs:

"The grassy hills of the downs hold the graves of the Kings, Queens, Princes and Aristocrats of Arnor. In the years after the plague, the mounds became haunted by evil spirits from Angmar and Rhudaur called Wights. The downs are rich in treasure and adventure, but it would be prudent for the adventurous to seek the council of the wise before trying their luck in the ancient and eerie tombs."

As we read....Tom rescues them once again, brings back the ponies and last....but maybe most important....he gives them all knives "forged by the men of Westernesse, foes of the Dark Lord."

At the Sign of the Prancing Pony.....

I guess I am going to be writing this a lot...but again, one of my favorite chapters. We get to meet Strider in this chapter and I have to admit, I would have been more of Sam's thought that he should not be trusted....a tall man, dark and mysterious. I love that they all got into the ale deeply even enough for Frodo to get up and sing a merry song by Bilbo....and then upon falling, slips on the ring. Strider is freaked about that and warns him and tells him he needs to speak to him. Butterbur warns him not to cause trouble and also needs to speak to him....we have much to learn in the next chapter. Can't wait. I could get more detailed here....but I want to leave room for others to write.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:54 pm

I am one of those readers who disliked Tom's chapter. After the first reading, I always skipped that chapter. He reminded me (after seeing the Princess Bride) of Miracle Max..with him and Goldberry waving at the hobbits "Good-bye! Have fun storming the castle!"

https://youtu.be/AjUmULa0R-8

Now, after all these years, I read the chapter again...and I am happy to report I was much more patient and pleased with this excerpt. The deep love that Tom has for all the earth and it's inhabitants is very clear and his love for Goldberry is endearing as it is without end.I found Tom and Goldberry charming this go around and a deeper meaning, permeating throughout the chapter. I was particularly struck of Frodo's dream, we know he is seeing Gandalf at Orthanc, but for the first time reader this wouldn't be evident for many more chapters..I love how Tolkien places these things throughout his novel.

Fog on the Barrow Downs.

Perhaps it is because I am much older, but boy are these four hobbits are starting out quite hapless. LOL.. I mean this with the utmost love and charity. As soon as they leave the Shire, they are attacked by trees, get rescued, attacked by wights, get rescued..and don't even get me started on the next chapter, the Prancing Pony. I do love how Tolkien makes you feel the antiquity of Middle Earth, that this world has been around far longer than our travelers. It feels old, it feels lived in and it feels real. This is probably a point I will be bringing up again and again through this trilogy. But I do hold all other Fantasy authors up to the Tolkien test as far as world building goes. Do I believe it? Does this world filled lived in, with places, people and events, past and present inhabiting the earth..yes a thousand times for these books. The ancient feel of the Barrow Downs, the old swords, but they aren't as ancient or as old as Tom, who saves their bacon (again).

The Prancing Pony

This must have been shocking for the four hobbits.Big and little people intermingling, a hodgepodge of travelers going hither an tither, and a bunch of locals. For how small Bree is, it certainly gets it's fair share of different folk. Unfortunately every town has a Bill Ferney and such..I kind of missed the rescue of Bill the Pony from his hands in the movies..but you know, that''s why books are better.
For all the "Rangers" do to keep areas like the Shire and Bree safe, it is sad to see the way Aragorn is treated and mistrusted by the locals. Once again, the hobbits fall into the thick of things with Frodo's "accidental" vanishing act..again, was that the ring trying to bring notice to itself and thereby other's who are in service to it's maker? I kind of think it is that indeed.

Thank you Thor..that is the word!

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Thor 'n' Oakenshield » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:01 am

The Tom Bombadil chapters never used to be favorites of mine either, until recently - now, I think they probably are some of the best parts in the entire book. Tolkien, I think, was right to never truly explain what Tom and Goldberry are - they simply are. If he had said what they were, whether in the text or in a different writing, or letter, etc, I think it would strip them of some of their timelessness, and certainly of their mystery. But as it is, Tolkien allows us to guess and ponder to our heart's content. I love that about Tolkien's writing - he allows the reader to fill in the blanks; he gives the reader plenty of space to craft their own story. I could read the Bombadil chapters a hundred times and come up with a hundred new explanations for what or who he is. This time around, I'm looking at Tom as perhaps being a personification of the earth itself - not a Maiar or a Valar or anything, but the spirit of Arda. He is - as in, he is the creation of the Ainur, without end and without beginning. And Gandalf does go to speak with him at the end of the book, for reasons left unexplained - but it is interesting that he does so not long after giving Aragorn the stewardship of Middle-earth. Does Tom know? Does Tom care? We don't know. I don't know if that reading would work in Tolkien's lore, especially since Tom doesn't appear to bear any of the marks of Morgoth's corruption or Sauron's evils - he exists without fear, without worry or care. Such an interesting character, and yet we have so little time to get to know him before he's gone.
As for the Barrow-downs; such a delightful chapter, dark and full of brooding mystery. The harsh wind cracking against weather-beaten stones, the long grass and the memory of those ancient sheep that Tom references - Tolkien makes you feel all that history, with such simple words. And the wights themselves are terrifying! I first tried to read the book when I was probably only six or seven, and the description of the wight with its cold eyes in the dark scared me: so much so, that I remember I would put other, even heavier books on top of LOTR at night in order to prevent the wight from getting out of the book. I did the same when I got up to Gollum, if I recall correctly. :lol: :lol:
I haven't started reading Prancing Pony yet - I'll be sure to fill you in on all the details when I do, though.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Tookish_Traveler » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:54 pm

I rather like your take on Tom Bombadil, Thor'n. He is the 'spirit of Arda'. The fact that he is not affected by the ring indicates to me that he is not one of the 'peoples' of Middle Earth.

Then there is Goldberry, the daughter of the River. This seems like Tolkien was echoing some of the ancient mythologies, with the personification of natural resources. (so how can a river have a daughter anyway???) Unfortunately we learn even less about Goldberry in LOTR.

From the sunny, breezy Tom chapter to the Barrow-downs is an abrupt transition! The entire incident is scary, and I can understand why Thor'n kept his book shut tight at night! :) It was interesting how quickly Tom was there to save the hobbits. Can he teleport? Ok, that may not be the best word to use, but the only other option is that he was already wandering about close by -- a scenario that doesn't seem to be very likely. In retrospect, this was one of the many adventures that helped to build the hobbits bravery and self esteem? These 2 things would be needed as they got closer to Mordor.

On to The Prancing Pony....

I always liked this chapter. First, the hobbits ended up in a pub. (always a plus) Second, they meet up with Strider. The first time I read it I was unsure of Strider at first, just like the hobbits. At this point I am chomping at the bit to see what happens next....
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Otaku-sempai » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:59 pm

Tookish_Traveler wrote:I rather like your take on Tom Bombadil, Thor'n. He is the 'spirit of Arda'. The fact that he is not affected by the ring indicates to me that he is not one of the 'peoples' of Middle Earth.

Then there is Goldberry, the daughter of the River. This seems like Tolkien was echoing some of the ancient mythologies, with the personification of natural resources. (so how can a river have a daughter anyway???) Unfortunately we learn even less about Goldberry in LOTR.

Tom also calls Goldberry "River-woman's daughter", which is slightly more specific and perhaps refers to nature spirits (or perhaps Ainur in the service of the Vala Ulmo) that are physically incarnate.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:08 am

Okay all...are we ready for the next three chapters?

Chapters

9. At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

10. Strider

11. A Knife in the Dark


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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Tookish_Traveler » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:44 pm

I am ready!!!! :D
Oktoberfest!!!!

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Vanaladiel » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:01 pm

Great thoughts and observations all.

Alas I am already in The Two Towers. I can't go slow, sorry! If I have anything to add to what anyone comments on, I promise to add to it!
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby rwhen » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:28 am

Witchie...I am on day two of four.....so limited time for posting on the next three, but I'll do my best tomorrow....hang in there everyone.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Tookish_Traveler » Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:17 pm

Ok, I’ll start off with the Prancing Pony.

1- I still get a kick out of the ‘Cow jumped over the moon’ poem. :D

2- More ominous is the desire that Frodo felt to put on the ring. The temptation seemed to come from someone or something inside the room. I think it was the ring itself, trying to trick him into being ‘revealed’.

3- The introduction of Strider. When I first read the book, he struck me as a ‘rough around the edges’ Han Solo type -- but basically a good guy. Glad I was right!!! At the time I had no inkling (see what I did there?) that he would be revealed at the King.

I’m sure other folks came up with more insights. Post away!!
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:41 pm

I'll be back..It is my long weekend...Friday thru Sunday 12 hour shifts..so hopefully tomorrow night.





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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:34 pm

The Sign of the Prancing Pony.

I love love love how Tolkien opens up this chapter, by drawing us a picture of Bree, the surrounding villages, countryside and even the people. Doing so, he continues to build the world around our travelers and invites us in..and we look around, and it feels lived in. Bree always felt like an extension of the Shire, only with other sorts of folks inhabiting it, the countryside felt the same, the inhabitants feel less isolated, and more welcoming of strangers, but still small town. Tolkien even includes the surnames of the hobbits that live in nearby Staddle.

Once again, the ring puts Frodo in a perilous situation. I like that Frodo was feeling pleased with himself, and was dancing on the table, it shows us the fun hobbit he was, much clearer than Jackson's version of events at the Pony. This later amplifies that tragedy that is Frodo in the third book, and how much he lost and changed in this journey..Here we see him let his hair down, so to speak...only to be caught up in the evil that is the ring. The Ring that will slowly take all that Frodo finds joyful and darken it.

Okay..that is it for tonight. I'll hit the other two chapters tomorrow

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Thor 'n' Oakenshield » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:20 am

Witchwench wrote:Once again, the ring puts Frodo in a perilous situation. I like that Frodo was feeling pleased with himself, and was dancing on the table, it shows us the fun hobbit he was, much clearer than Jackson's version of events at the Pony. This later amplifies that tragedy that is Frodo in the third book, and how much he lost and changed in this journey..Here we see him let his hair down, so to speak...only to be caught up in the evil that is the ring. The Ring that will slowly take all that Frodo finds joyful and darken it.


I agree completely! It's one of the most frustrating omissions from Jackson's films - not only is it hilarious and endearing to watch our protagonist dance drunkenly around the inn, getting into trouble and generally making a fool of himself, but it also allows us to see just how innocent, how naive, he is at this early stage in the story. It's a rare moment of levity as the book gets darker, and it's ruined, corrupted, by the evil of the Ring, which plays a cruel trick on Frodo, using his innocence to its advantage. It's quite an excellent scene, and a shame that we didn't get to see it in the movie. Also, the song itself is genius, and so much fun - I've sung it aloud on occasion. :blush:
As for Strider, such an interesting character: I love how shady and roguish he appears here, and how shocking it is when he is unveiled in all his majesty later on. Here, he almost seems to be no better than a thief or a mercenary, looking to cheat the hobbits out of their money, and possibly lead them into a trap. I also love how business-savvy Frodo is in this scene; he's a very logical thinker (when he's not drunk :lol: ), and so aware of his surroundings.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:50 pm

It truly is a shame that scene was changed, with Frodo being so sober from the get go, what he loses isn't as painful (in the movies)...

Strider, he came in, yes, very rough, but also with some depth in this chapter. He too wonders if Frodo's trip off the end of the table was an "accident"..I like how Aragorn refers to himself in the third person, when he asks the hobbits if they will follow Strider's lead..which is an early indication that Strider is but a covering for his true identity. I laughed when Butterbur managed to tweak Aragorn's temper enough that he received a rather withering rant "who would you rather they take up with, a fat innkeeper who can only remember his name because people shout it at him all day?" I'm paraphrasing there, don't want to go look up the actual quote..but this cracked me up

And off our merry hobbit's go..to Weathertop.

A Knife in the Dark...here, our hobbits start to realize how sweet they had it back in the Shire. They are beginning to think fondly of their homes and the villages they are from and are really coming to grasps with how far from home they really were. Now their trek was becoming much more demanding, they didn't have to wander off the beaten path to find danger, there was no beat path and danger was everywhere...here also it is emphasized how much power the Nine had in tempting Frodo to put on the ring, becoming a desire ..but even when he entered their world, as scared as he was, he still managed to stab one in the foot...I also wish Jackson would have included this bit in the movies, showing Frodo's moxy...

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby rwhen » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:35 am

Witchie and Co.....sorry I have been gone....and I will be again. I did work the four, then got sick for a few days and now on a five day stretch....I will have a good opportunity to post again on Wednesday.....but if you folks move on, I'll catch up when I am posting again.

And I will catch up on all posts made on the three chapters currently being discussed. (again, move forward if you need to)

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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Thor 'n' Oakenshield » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:05 pm

So A Knife In The Dark is a great chapter, that goes without saying, but I honestly love it so much. All this build-up, all this carefully-stoked tension, leads up to this defining moment when Frodo is face-to-face with the Black Riders, and we think we realize what we've always "known" all along - that Frodo is too weak, too small, to challenge these huge, larger-than-life evil creatures: it's only in the next chapter, and really only in Rivendell, that we discover that Frodo's true strength lies within him, that he is so much stronger than he or anyone else thinks. It's so touching, and such a powerful message: physically, Frodo may not be able to stand for long against the power of Sauron, but his spirit and his mind are so strong, they withstand even the witchcraft of a Morgul-blade. And, of course, losing his spirit, his will to live, and eventually beginning to lose his mind: that's what leaves Frodo vulnerable in later books, and exposes him to the full malice of Sauron's hatred, and the corrupting influence of the Ring, gnawing away at his soul. Tolkien's foreshadowing is brilliant.

Also, just that whole first part of the chapter is so good: the attack on Crickhollow. It immediately raises the stakes to a whole new level, showing us how capable the Riders are, and how frightening they are - you read that scene, and you know, immediately, that it's only a matter of time before they reach Frodo, before they find him, before they corner him somewhere in the wild. It's truly terrifying - especially since you can't fully trust Strider just yet, and you're also worried about Gandalf's prolonged absence at the same time. I think it was brilliant that Gandalf doesn't show up at the Fords of Bruinen to save Frodo - because Tolkien knows you're expecting it, you're expecting the "presumed-dead" wizard to show up in the nick of time to save everybody; but Tolkien doesn't do that. He dangles that hope in front of you, and then pulls it away, giving you just enough of a scare before revealing, in the very next chapter, that Gandalf really is alive after all. You breath a sigh of relief, and you feel good: it puts you into a good mood, going into the Rivendell chapters - your heroes are reunited, the Riders are a thing of the past, all is well. Genius.

And also...Glorfindel. What a strange, enigmatic character! I've always loved him, even though he is, frankly, insignificant. Or then again, is he? In the actual story, yes, but in subtext, perhaps not. I find it intriguing that Tolkien envisioned Glorfindel, who had died by a Balrog's hand, being reincarnated and brought back to Middle-earth on the same ship that carried Gandalf into Middle-earth. Tolkien never said whether that was a coincidence, but doesn't it seem interesting? Why was Glorfindel, of all the great fallen heroes of the First Age, brought back to life? Why was he sent to accompany Gandalf, who would later die in the exact same way, on his journey into the world? I've always imagined that Glorfindel must have told Gandalf how he would die, and prepared him for it: maybe he gave him tips on how to fight a Balrog? Or maybe it's completely coincidental, but that doesn't seem likely in Middle-earth, somehow.
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Re: Lord of The Rings..a reading group

Postby Witchwench » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:36 pm

rwhen, join when you can dear, were going slow, so whenever is just fine :D

Thor those are some great insights. I had forgotten how that wound plagues Frodo throughout the journey and your right, it weakens him mentally and physically for the rest of the journey, especially when the BRs are nearby.

Glorifindel, yes! Perhaps this is indeed why Gandalf decided "to heck with you Balrog! Let's do this!" already knowing what the cost was if he were to let such evil continue to exist on ME. I have often wondered why Tolkien didn't have Glorifindel be one of the nine, and chose Legolas instead..perhaps I'll find out his answer in the Tolkien letters that I'm reading.


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