TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

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TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Notta Hobbit » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:28 pm

Sorry for the delay in posting this. I kind of lost it for a few days . . . .
:oops:
Summary

The four travelers arrive at Edoras on the morning of the next day after a long overnight ride. They are somewhat reluctantly admitted to Meduseld but are required to leave their weapons at the door. Aragorn has especial trouble parting with Anduril. Hama allows Gandalf to keep his staff even though that has been expressly forbidden. Theoden, under Wormtongue's influence, considers Gandalf nothing but a bad-news bearer. Wormtongue insults Gandalf, and Gandalf magicks him to the floor (yay!). With this and with Gandalf's encouraging words, Theoden begins to cast off Wormtongue's influence and regain his nobility. At Gandalf's urging he releases Eomer from prison (where he had been put for disobeying orders regarding the orcs) and Eomer offers the king his sword in service. Theoden accepts and asks for his own sword and to see Wormtongue. He offers Grima the choice of going to war against Saruman with him, or leaving forever. Wormtongue leaves. Gandalf has advised that all the Rohan noncombatants go to Dunharrow for protection. Theoden assigns Eowyn to this duty and names Eomer his heir, since his own son Theodred has been killed in the orc battle. At Gandalf's request, he also gives Shadowfax to Gandalf. The army begins to move toward Isengard.

Questions

1. If Eomer is Third Marshal of the Mark, who are First and Second?
2. Why do the king and even Grima himself allow everyone else to call the counselor Wormtongue?
3. What is the purpose to the story of having Eowyn fall in love with Aragorn?
4. Gandalf is coming "back" to Meduseld after a recent visit. When was that visit and why? (I think this question is actually answered later, but I can't remember where.)
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Minardil » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:26 am

1. If Eomer is Third Marshal of the Mark, who are First and Second?


At the time of the story, the posts of First and Second Marshal's are vacant. There has been no First Marshal (or Supreme Military Commander, if you like) for some time, since Theoden has been "ill" and under the influence of Wormtongue. Theodred his son held the post of Second Marshal, but he has just been killed at the time we get to Meduseld.

2. Why do the king and even Grima himself allow everyone else to call the counselor Wormtongue?


Do you mean why to they call him that name, or why does he allow himself to be treated disrespectfully? I think the answer to the first question is that it is obvious to everyone that Grima is a worm, and the answer to the second is that Grima doesn't LIKE people calling him that, but there doesn't seem to be much he can really do to stop it.


3. What is the purpose to the story of having Eowyn fall in love with Aragorn?


Add's depth to her character and provides additional motivation for her to disquise herself as "Dernhelm" and ride to battle.

4. Gandalf is coming "back" to Meduseld after a recent visit. When was that visit and why? (I think this question is actually answered later, but I can't remember where.)


Theoden had earlier "loaned" Gandalf Shadowfax (well, really he offered Gandalf the use of A horse and Gandalf CHOSE Shadowfax, the "Lord of All Horses", which sort of ticked Theoden off. This was, I THINK, some time before the start of the story, when Gandalf was still unsure of the status and allegiance of Saruman and when he was passing through Meduseld in great haste and in need of a horse. Not sure exactly when.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Arvegil » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:50 pm

3. What is the purpose to the story of having Eowyn fall in love with Aragorn?

Eowyn has to be unafraid of death at the time the encounters the Witch-King. We all know from Glorfindel's prophesy that a man would not kill the Witch-King. However, in order to be able to face down the Witch-King, Eowyn has to be able to stare death in the face and be unafraid of it.

So, Tolkien had to "break the cutie" in order to re-make her as the only mortal capable of taking out the witch-King. What better way than have her fall in love with a completely unattainable man?
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Notta Hobbit » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:01 pm

Break the cutie? That's a new one. I get it, though. And I think you and Minardil must be right about the character motivation. I hadn't thought of it quite that way, but then Tolkien spends so little time on his women characters it's easy to overlook them.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Notta Hobbit » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:05 pm

Minardil wrote:
2. Why do the king and even Grima himself allow everyone else to call the counselor Wormtongue?


Do you mean why to they call him that name, or why does he allow himself to be treated disrespectfully? I think the answer to the first question is that it is obvious to everyone that Grima is a worm, and the answer to the second is that Grima doesn't LIKE people calling him that, but there doesn't seem to be much he can really do to stop it.


Yes, I meant why did they put up with it. I suppose Grima is the kind of person who would loathe the name but never face down anybody about it. I kind of wondered why Theoden allowed it. Doesn't it kind of disrespect him as well?


4. Gandalf is coming "back" to Meduseld after a recent visit. When was that visit and why? (I think this question is actually answered later, but I can't remember where.)


Theoden had earlier "loaned" Gandalf Shadowfax (well, really he offered Gandalf the use of A horse and Gandalf CHOSE Shadowfax, the "Lord of All Horses", which sort of ticked Theoden off. This was, I THINK, some time before the start of the story, when Gandalf was still unsure of the status and allegiance of Saruman and when he was passing through Meduseld in great haste and in need of a horse. Not sure exactly when.[/quote]

I definitely remember the "ticked off" part, and I remember thinking, Well Theoden, I guess you've learned not to make an offer like THAT again, eh? :lol:
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Old_Begonia » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:04 pm

Questions

2. Why do the king and even Grima himself allow everyone else to call the counselor Wormtongue?
Grima/Wormtongue has always struck me as one of those manipulative bully types who completely lacks the real gravitas to impose his will on others. His type is really comfortable in the shadow of a Saruman. Why does the king allow it? Why does he allow his counsellor to be disrespected? When we first encounter Théoden, he is in no case to object to anything, completely the puppet of Gríma. Once Gandalf silences the manipulator and brings the king out into the sunlight, it's not long before Théoden is calling him Wormtongue too.

3. What is the purpose to the story of having Eowyn fall in love with Aragorn?
It struck me, the first time I read LOTR, that Tolkien really had no idea what to do with women. The female character completely illuded him. But, he had set himself a riddle: no MAN could take out the Witch-King. Okay, he's got hobbits, elves, dwarves, and, technically orcs, but that's really stretching it, to consider an orc attacking the WK. None of the aforementioned races or characters are really suited to the task. They're not quite left-field enough, if you take my meaning. Okay, so enter Éowyn. To me, Éowyn falling for Aragorn is a no brainer. She's young and eligible, he's hot and apparently available. I mean really, there's no one around of her rank, right? Who was she going to marry anyway? And after being eyed by the disgusting Gríma, anyone, even a mud-covered Ranger would be appealing, much less one who declares himself Elendil's heir of Gondor. ANNNNNND...what better prelude to happily-ever-after with Faramir than an unhappy first attempt at throwing herself at a man? I have absolutely nothing to base this on, but is it possible that Mrs. Tolkien said, "Darling, really, you've GOT to have some romance or NO ONE is going to read this"?
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Notta Hobbit » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:59 pm

Fantastic post, OB, especially about Eowyn! This is what I love about Tolkien, that his story or epic or whatever you want to call it allows this kind of speculation about individual characters whom he doesn't even give much space to--but he's still thought them out well enough to make us able to see ourselves in them. There are really very few places where you can poke a real hole in the narrative.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Morwenna » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:28 pm

Why does Grima allow himself to be called Wormtongue? Well, when you're obsequious enough, you put up with a lot, figuring that one day you'll get your own back. Trouble was, he got his own back all right; he reaped what he sowed! And besides, I can't remember Theoden calling him that until Gandalf finally opened his eyes.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby siddharth » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:19 am

I think I can answer no. 4.

The first time Gandalf arrived at Mesudeld was after Saruman's betrayal. Gandalf escaped Isengard on Gwaihir. Gwaihir left him in Rohan. Gandalf met the King as a beggar. Theoden was irritated by Gandalf's presence and told him to take any horse and leave. To his annoyance he chose Shadowfax and left.
This incident is mentioned in 'The council of Elrond' as well as in Appendix B of Lotr.

Hope that helps. :)
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Arvegil » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:56 pm

Notta Hobbit wrote:Break the cutie? That's a new one. I get it, though. And I think you and Minardil must be right about the character motivation. I hadn't thought of it quite that way, but then Tolkien spends so little time on his women characters it's easy to overlook them.


I will crudely paraphrase Vonnegut, who said that the writer has to be a little sadistic to characters in order to show the World what they are made of. As I said above, Eowyn, by the Battle of Pellenor, has to be a character capable of facing the animated personification of Death and tell him, in magnificent and highly formal language, to go ---- himself. The character who can do that has to be a character that the author has sold his reader the idea that they believe that they have nothing left to lose (even if the reader believes otherwise).

See also: Fingolfin.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby fattylumpkin » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:21 pm

"What is the purpose of having Eowyn fall in love with Aragorn"

Well, it seems to me that Eowyn is not the only young girl that fell for Aragorn on first meeting! How many torcers, myself included, fell for him on first reading?! "a shadow and a thought" indeed, sigh!
Eowyns meeting Aragorn and what she thinks is love is what brings her out of her frozen state and into action.
What can be worse than falling for someone unatainable, but who is the only one around that understands your character, admires you and even, pities your situation. Poor Eowyn, the scene where she begs to go with Aragorn is really painful to read! for someone so proud and contained as she, to so loose control of her feelings, in front of Aragorn and the others who she admires and would be like... .. no wonder there seems nothing left but to reject the way imposed on you and to seek death in battle.
and as she has been thwarted in her desire she recognizes and appeals to another in the same state to go with her, Merry. I love the idea that the only two on the Pelennor that can best the WK have broken the rules to be there! but thats getting ahead..
It seems to me that Aragorn does not give any encouragement to Eowyns love for him, and he does so in such a kind way; I can not love you but you are worthy of love. Must have happened to him all the time.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Morwenna » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:27 am

Getting ahead is fine when there's a good point to be made! I love what you say about Eowyn and Merry.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby tgshaw54 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:55 pm

This is a bit outside discussion of the text, but Arwen was a late addition to the story. Originally, Aragorn and Eowyn end up together. (At one point in the writing, IIRC, she gets killed in battle and Aragorn never marries, although I'm not completely sure of that.)
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby Old_Begonia » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:40 pm

I have a question for you: the black staff that had been Théoden's cane or staff, might it have been enchanted? Somehow been part of keeping him enfeebled?
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: TTT, Book 3, Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

Postby truehobbit » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:43 am

[quote="Notta Hobbit"]2. Why do the king and even Grima himself allow everyone else to call the counselor Wormtongue?
quote]

I seem to remember a post in the books forum a long time ago that argued that "worm" in an Old English context like the world of Rohan meant 'dragon', so the name would carry a certain hostility, as a dragon isn't anything nice, but not be as disrespectful as it seems to us as first sight. I guess if you're said to 'speak like a dragon' it would mean you're cunning and possibly manipulative (as dragons are apparently supposed to be), but also powerful and irresistible.
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