Annotated LotR - The Shadow of the Past

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Annotated LotR - The Shadow of the Past

Postby roaccarcsson » Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:54 pm

The Shadow of the Past(Chapter heading)

Drafts of this Chapter appear in HOME Vol VI at pp 76-87, 250-272, 318-323, Vol VII pp 21-29

In Tolkien's original conception it appears that information about the Ring and the Nazgul was conveyed not by Gandalf, but by Gildor Inglorion (see HOME 6 pp 73-75), who in the final version declines to comment.

But in the meantime, the general opinion in the neighbourhood was that Bilbo, who had always been rather cracked, had at last gone quite mad, and had run off into the Blue. There he had undoubtedly fallen into a pool or a river and come to a tragic, but hardly an untimely, end. The blame was mostly laid on Gandalf.

Bilbo's words to Gandalf at their first meeting in The Hobbit suggest Gandalf had always had such a local reputation:
"Dear me!" he went on. "Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures. Anything from climbing trees to visiting Elves - or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life used to be quite inter - I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time"


He refused to go into mourning; and the next year he gave a party in honour of Bilbo’s hundred-and-twelfth birthday, which he called a Hundred-weight Feast

Bilbo's 112th birthday feast was presumably so named because the "hundred-weight" is a British imperial unit of weight equal to 112 pounds.

mostly descendants of the Old Took

The "Old Took" is Gerontius Took, who was born S.R. 1190 and died S.R. 1320. (The name "Gerontius" does not appear until Bk. II, ch. 4

According to the Took family tree in Appendix C, Gerontius and his wife Adamanta, neé Chubb, had twelve children, eight of whom are recorded as having children of their own

Bilbo was the son of Gerontius's daughter Belladonna. Belladonna is named in The Hobbit as "one of the three remarkable daughters of the Old Took"; the other two, not named in TH, are given in Appendix C as Donnamira and Mirabella. Mirabella married Gorbadoc Brandybuck, and her daughter Primula was Frodo's mother; hence Frodo was a great-grandson of Gerontius

Merry and Pippin were both descended from Gerontius through his fourth son Hildigrim; Pippin's father Paladin, and Merry's mother Esmerelda, were brother and sister, children of Hildigrim's son Adalgrim. Thus they were great-great-grandsons of Gerontius, and first cousins. Merry was also descended from Gerontius through Mirabella, who was his great-grandmother.

Fredegar Bolger was a great-great-grandson of Gerontius through his eighth son, Hildibrand

Folco Boffin

He does not appear in the family trees in Appendix C as it was published. CJRT notes in The Peoples of Middle-earth:

It is a curious fact that the genealogical tables of the families of Bolger of Budgeford and Boffin of the Yale were already in print when they were rejected from Appendix C, but I have not been able to find any evidence bearing on the reason for their rejection. In a letter from the publishers of 20 May 1955 my father was told: 'We have dropped Bolger and Boffin from Appendix C', and on 24 May Rayner Unwin wrote: 'I have deleted the two family trees and the redundant note that introduced them' (no copy of either tree has any note specifically relating to them


'The Family Trees', The Peoples of Middle-earth

The Boffin and Bolger family trees have been restored to the one-volume "50th Anniversary Edition," published in 2004 by Harper Collins snd Houghton Mifflin.

In the final version of the Boffins of the Yale genealogy, Folco (son of Vigo, son of Jago) is shown to be the Great-grandson of Hugo Boffin and Donnamira Took, and thus, like the other three hobbits mentioned in this paragraph, a great-great-grandson of the Old Took. Folco is recorded as being born in SR 1378, making him ten years Frodo's junior

Fredegar Bolger
He was born in SR 1380, and was thus twelve years younger than Frodo, two years older than Merry, and ten years older than Pippin. He was present at Bilbo's Farewell Party, as were Merry and Pippin.

"Fredegar" is a Frankish name, recorded as the (supposed) author of a chronicle of the Franks in the seventh century. The name appears to be a compound of common Germanic name-elements meaning "peace" and "spear."

Peregrin Took (usually called Pippin)

"Peregrin," sometimes spelled "Peregrine," is Latin in origin and means "traveler" or "wanderer." The word "pilgrim" is a variant form of the same word. Though uncommon, it is in use today as a proper name, especially in Britain (where it seems to have aristocratic associations, appropriate to the Took family).

"Pippin" is the name for a variety of apple.

Peregrin was the son of Paladin Took (1333-1434), 19th Thain of the Took line (by calculation from the Took family tree). His mother was born Eglantine Banks.

In Tolkien's drafts of Book I of LotR, the number and identities of his companions on the journey from Hobbiton to Rivendell underwent a bewildering series of alterations. The character we know from the finished work as "Peregrin Took" does not finally appear under that name until early in the second volume of the LotR manuscripts (The Treason of Isengard, v. VII of the HoME series). Even the briefest summary of the mutations "Pippin" underwent would go on for pages. Christopher Tolkien sums it up as follows:

It would be legitimate, I think, to see . . . a singular or particular hobbit-character, who appears under an array of names: Odo, Frodo, Folco, Faramond, Peregrin, Hamilcar, Fredegar, and the very ephemeral Olo (VI.299) - Tooks, Boffins, and Bolgers. Though no doubt a very "typical" hobbit of the Shire, this "character" is in relation to his companions very distinct: cheerul, nonchalant, irrepressible, commonsensical, limited, and extremely fond of his creature comforts.


HoME v. VII, pp. 30-32 (1st U.S. ed.)

his real name was Meriadoc, but that was seldom remembered

In the earliest drafts, this character's name was "Marmaduke Brandybuck." This was replaced by the present name by the time the story had reached Tom Bombadil. See HoME, v. VI. Tolkien says in Appendix F that
Meriadoc was chosen to fit the fact that this character's shortened name, Kali, meant in the Westron "jolly, gay," though it was actually an abbreviation of the now unmeaning Buckland name Kalimac.


Meriadoc is an actual Celtic name. The Catholic Church recognizes a Saint Meriadoc, a bishop in Brittany in the eighth century. June 7 is his feast day.

Meriadoc's father Saradoc (1340-1432) was Master of Buckland after the death in 1408 of his father Rorimac, the "Old Rory" mentioned in Bk I, ch. 1.

The ancient East-West Road ran through the Shire to its end at the Grey Havens [...].

The East-West Road (which appears on the map as The Great East Road) runs from Mithlond (the Grey Havens) to Rivendell and was built by the Númenóreans before the end of the Second Age ([...] in those days the only Númenórean roads were the great road linking Gondor and Arnor, [...] and the East-West Road from the Grey Havens to Imladris. Note 6 to 'The Disaster of the Gladden Fields', Unfinished Tales).

While the Great East Road may have followed an older dwarf-road for part of its course, there appears to be no documentary evidence for this view. Tolkien in 'The Quest of Erebor' calls it the Dwarves' ancestral road to the Mountains, but this is in reference to Thorin and his Halls in the South of the Ered Luin (built in Third Age 2802, long after the construction of the East-West Road). The older dwarf-mines to the north of the Little Lune do not appear to belong to Durin's Folk and there is no indication that any constructed roads (as opposed to trails and paths) led to or from these workings. It may be surmised that the great Dwarven cities of Nogrod and Belegost of the First Age built roads east of the Ered Luin (they certainly built some west of those mountains) but this is purely conjectural. As these putative roads would have been built before the cataclysms at the end of the First Age, it is unlikely that the route of the Great East Road followed the same route(s) as its destination was not founded until midway through the Second Age, well after the geography had changed, and its origin was on the new coastline.
    -----------
But now Frodo often met strange dwarves of far countries, seeking refuge in the West.

'Strange dwarves' must refer to dwarves not previously known to the hobbits. Durin's Folk (the Longbeards), and those descended from the peoples of Nogrod and Belegost (the Firebeards and the Broadbeams) are the kindreds with which the hobbits would have been familiar; thus the strange dwarves would belong to the kindreds of the Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Blacklocks or Stonefoots whose ancestral homelands lay far to the east.
    -----------

They were troubled, and some spoke in whispers of the Enemy and of the Land of Mordor.

According to Appendix B, Sauron first chose Mordor as a stronghold in about S.A. 1000, foreseeing the need for a defense against the Numenoreans, who were showing increasing interest in Middle-earth under the leadership of Aldarion son of Tar-Meneldur the King. See Unfinished Tales at p. 247, and the detailed story of Aldarion at pp. 181-227.

The conversation in The Green Dragon at Bywater, one evening

'Green Dragon' is a much more common pub name than 'Ivy Bush' (see 'A Long Awaited Party'). This database records 100 examples all over England and Wales:

http://www.jetlink.net/~bconroy/

For example there is a 'Green Dragon' in Cambridge
http://www.cambridge2000.com/cambridge2000/html/0005/P5311052.html
that is known to date back to the 1500s.

one evening in the spring of Frodo's fiftieth year

The year is S.R. 1418. Sam is 38.

My cousin Hal for one

Halfast Gamgee, born in 1372 and thus eight years older than Sam, was the son of Halfred of Overhill, Gaffer Gamgee's younger brother.

He works for Mr. Boffin at Overhill

Overhill appears on the Shire Map; it is, as the name suggests, on the opposite (north) side of The Hill from Hobbiton. There seems to be no way to identify the "Mr. Boffin" named here, though it might be conjectured that he was the head of the Boffin family and that Folco was his heir.

But what about these Tree-men, these giants, as you might call them?

It is natural to speculate, as many readers have, that what Hal saw was an Entwife (see Bk. III, ch. 4). When asked about the fate of the Entwives, however, Tolkien never referred to this as a possibility. See Letters 144 & 338. Fuller discussion of this question belongs with the later chapter.

But this one was as big as an elm tree, and walking - walking seven yards to a stride, if it was an inch.

Given that the stride of this 'Tree-man' (21 feet) is almost three times as great as Treebeard's stride (7½ feet as given by Fonstad), it is just as likely (if not more likely) to be a giant as an ent, the 'tree-man' appellation referring only to stature rather than its nature or appearance. JRRT's Giants in The Book of Lost Tales are both likened to or compared with elm-trees. Nan is described in the Index as 'a giant', and Gilim: 'A Giant ('Winter'? ). On Pgs 67-8, CJRT notes it seems to say Nan was 'a giant of summer of the South', and that he was like an Elm. Gilim is called 'the Giant of Eruman, and on Page 46, Gilim the giant that is taller than many elm trees. This suggests that the idea of 'giant' was linked with that of 'elm-tree' in JRRT's mind - circumstantial evidence that Hal's creature was a Giant.

Both the English elm (Ulmus procera) and the Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra), which were common in England before being decimated by Dutch Elm Disease beginning in the 1970s, can grow to be 100 feet high. A 27-foot stride would thus be very plausible for an elm tree-sized giant.

http://www.offwell.free-online.co.uk/tree_gallery/index3.htm

The yard, like most of the traditional English units used to measure length, is ultimately based on the human body: It is the distance from an adult male's nose to the tips of the fingers of his outstretched arm.

http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/custom.html

The question thus arises with respect to any meaurement used by Hobbits: When Sam talks of "nine yards," does he mean nine of "our" yards (8.2296 meters), or nine times the distance from his nose to his fingertips? Drafts of Bk. IV, ch. 1 published in HoME v. VIII show that these questions occurred to Tolkien, and that he resolved them in favor of the "real-world" units. Thus, as the notional "translator" of the Red Book, he may be assumed to have converted the actual distances given by Hobbits into their eguivalents in the English units.

It was just at this time that Gandalf reappeared after his long absence.

According to Appendix B, Gandalf reached Hobbiton on April 12.

Gandalf was thinking of a spring, nearly eighty years before, when Bilbo had run out of Bag End without a handkerchief.
The reference is of course to the beginning of The Hobbit. This took place in S.R. 2941, so the exact interval has been 78 years.

In Eregion long ago many Elven-rings were made

In the lengthy summary of his mythology which Tolkien wrote for Milton Waldman, he said that in Eregion, in the Second Age

smithcraft reached its highest development. But many of the Elves listened to Sauron. He was still fair in that early time, and his motives and those of the Elves seemed to go partly together: the healing of the desolate lands. Sauron found their weak point in suggesting that, helping one another, they could make Western Middle Earth as beautiful as Valinor. It was really a veiled attack on the gods [the Valar], an incitement to try and make a separate independent paradise. . . . [A]t Eregion great work began - and the Elves came their nearest to falling to "magic" and machinery. With the aid of Sauron's lore they made Rings of Power ("power" is an ominous and sinister word in all these tales, except as applied to the gods).


Letter 131, Letters at p. 152 (1st U.S. ed.)

Long ago they fell under the dominion of the One, and they became Ringwraiths, shadows under his great Shadow.

Tom Shippey has this to say on the word 'Ringwraith':
This is[...] a compound, the first element completely familiar, the second more mysterious. What is a 'wraith'? If one looks the word up in the OED one finds a puzzle of just the kind which always attracted Tolkien's attention. The dictionary has no suggestion about the word's etymology, but comments 'Of obscure origin'. As for its meaning, the OED gives two sense, which appear to contradict each other, and cites the same text, Gavin Douglas's 1513 translation of Virgil's Aenid into Scots, as the source for both. I have no doubt that Tolkien and the other Inklings - for Lewis had a very clear image of a fictional wraith as well - discussed the matter, and in the end found a solution which makes sense both of Douglas's old text, and of the modern reality to which 'wraiths' refer. [...]To begin with the etymology of 'wraith', an obvious suggestion which the OED compilers should have thought of is that it is a form derived from the Old English verb wriðan, 'writhe'. This is a class 1 strong verb, exactly parallel to rídan, 'ride', and if it had been common enough to survive in full form, we would still say 'writhe - wrothe - writhen', as we do 'ride - rode - ridden' or 'write - wrote - written' (Tolkien does in fact use the form 'writhen', see Blackwelder's Tolkien Thesaurus). It is characteristic of verbs like 'ride' or 'write' to form other words by vowel-change, like 'road from 'ride' or 'writ' from 'write'. 'Writhe' has given rise to several: 'wreath' (something that is twisted), but less obviously and more suggestively 'wroth' (the old adjective meaning 'angry'), and 'wrath' (the corresponding noun which still survives). What has anger got to do with writhing, with being twisted? Clearly - and there are other parallels to this - the word is an old dead metaphor which suggests that wrath is a state of being twisted up inside (an Inkling thesis expressed by Owen Barfield and mentioned by Tolkien, see Letters p. 22. The word wraithas, 'bent' was also of special importance to Tolkien's personal myth of 'the Lost Road' [...].)

That Tolkien was aware of this sort of variation between the physical and the abstract is suggested by a word Legolas uses in 'The Ring Goes South' [...] 'a little wreath of snow on this Redhorn hillock troubles her not at all'. By 'wreath' here Legolas clearly means something like 'wisp', something barely substantial, and though the OED does not record it, that is also part of the meaning of 'wraith' - one could say, 'a wraith of mist', 'a wraith of smoke', just as Legolas says a 'a wreath of snow'. It seems likely, then, that 'wraith' is a Scottish form derived from wriðan in exactly the same way as 'raid' is derived from rídan.

Meanwhile the two Gavin Douglas quotations from which the OED derives its two senses are these. To illustrate sense 1, 'An apparition or spectre of a dead person: a phantom or ghost', the OED offers Douglas, 'In diuers placis The wraithis walkis of goistis that are deyd'. For sense 1b, though, 'An immaterial or spectral appearance of a living being', it offers Douglas again, 'Thidder went this wrath or schaddo of Ene' (i.e. Virgil's hero Aeneas). The obvious question is, are wraiths, then, alive or dead, for Douglas uses the word both ways? And, one might add, are material or immaterial? The latter is suggested by the equation with 'shadow' (another important word for Tolkien), and by the idea that wraiths and wreaths are defined by their shape more than their substance, a twist, a coil, a ring; the former, however, by the fact that wraiths can be wraiths of something, even if that something is as fluid (but not insubstantial) as snow or mist or smoke. Tolkien's Ringwraiths, of course, answer all the questions posed, and also demonstrate once more that apparent mistakes or contradictions in old poems may simply indicate an understanding that self-confident nineteenth- and twentieth-century dictionary compilers had not reached. Are the Ringwraiths alive or dead? Gandalf says early on that they were once men who were given rings by Sauron, and so 'ensnared ... Long ago they fell under the dominionof the one [Ring], and they became Ringwraiths, shadows under his great Shadow, his most terrible servants. Much later, in 'The Battle of the Pelennor Fields', we learn that the Lord of the Nazgûl, the chief Ringwraith, was once the sorceror-king of Angmar, a realm overthrown more than a thousand years in the past. He ought, then, to be dead, but is clearly alive in some way or other, and so positioned neatly between the two meanings given by the OED. As for being material or immaterial, he is in a way insubstantial, for when he throws back his hood, there is nothing there. Yet there must be something there, for 'he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set'. He and his fellows can furthermore act physically, carrying steel swords, riding horses or winged reptiles, the Lord of the Nazgûl wielding a mace. But they cannot be harmed physically, by flood or weapon - except by the blade of Westernesse taken from the barrow-wight's mound, wound round with spells for the defeat of Angmar. It is the spells that cleave 'the undead flesh', not the blade itself. So the Ringwraiths are just like mist or smoke, but physical, even dangerous or choking, but at the same time effectively intangible.


Author of the Century, p.121-4,


I might perhaps have consulted Saruman the White, but something always held me back.

The name "Saruman" is a modernized form of Old English *searoman, meaning "Man of Skill." The asterisk means that this compound is not actually recorded in any OE text, though the roots of which it is made are well-documented. The online Clark Hall dictionary records a substantial number of compounds beginning with the root searo-.

http://penguin.pearson.swarthmore.edu/~scrist1/scanned_books/tiff/oe_clarkhall/b0259.tiff

Appendix B reports that his Sindarin name "Curunír" had the same meaning.

He is the chief of my order and the head of the Council.

Gandalf and Saruman are "wizards," a term used by Tolkien as a translation of Quenya istari (sing. istar, Sindarin ithryn sing. ithron. The history and origin will be discussed in the annotations to subsequent chapters.

'The shadow fell on me again. But I said to myself: "After all he comes of a long-lived family on his mother’s side. There is time yet. Wait!"'

Bilbo's mother was Belladonna Took, daughter of the Old Took who lived to 130, the oldest recorded hobbit apart from Bilbo himself. See note at the beginning of this chapter.

The beginnings lie back in the the Black Years

These were the years of Sauron's dominion of Middle-Earth in the Second Age. A chronology of the Second Age appears in Appendix B The Tale of Years.

He only needs the One; for he made that Ring himself, it is his, and he let a great part of his own former power pass into it, so that he could rule all the others.

In Letter 211, Tolkien wrote:

The Ring of Sauron is only one of the various mythical treatments of the placing of one's life, or power, in some external object, which is thus exposed to capture or destruction with disastrous results to oneself.

Letters at p. 279. In the essay "On Fairy-Stories," Tolkien referred to this theme as
an ancient and very widespread folk-lore notion . . . that the life or strength of a man or creature may reside in some other place or thing; or in some part of the body (especially the heart) that can be detached and hidden in a bag, or under a stone, or in an egg. At one end of recorded folk-lore history this idea was used by George MacDonald in his fairy-story The Giant's Heart, which derives its central motive (as well as many other details) from well-known traditional tales. At the other end, indeed in what is probably one of the oldest stories in writing, it occurs in The Tale of the Two Brothers in the Egyptian D'Orsigny papyrus.


For example, in early Slavic folk-tales, an evil sorcerer Kashchei the Immortal cannot be killed because he cleverly hides his death "on the point of a needle, the needle is in an egg, the egg is in a duck, the duck is in a hare, the hare is in a strongbox, the strongbox is chained to an oak tree" somewhere in an inaccessible location. It is interesting to note that in these tales the hero defeats the sorcerer by breaking the needle, and that he can only achieve that goal with the help of several animals, whom he has helped or whose life he has spared during his journey. Here is one example:

http://stpetersburg-guide.com/folk/frog.shtml

A post-LotR example is found in Barry Hughart's 1985 novel Bridge of Birds, based on Chinese traditions.

The Men of Westernesse came to their aid.

"Westernesse" is the Island of Numenor, whose history is recounted in The Akallabeth in the Silmarillion (1st Paperback Ed pp 312-339)

The Common Speech name of Númenor (which means 'West-land'). It is meant to be western + ess, an ending used in partly francized names of 'romantic' lands, as Lyonesse, or Logres (England in Arthurian Romance). The name actually occurs in the early romance King Horn, of some kingdom reached by ship. Translate by some similar invention containing West- or its equivalent.


Here is a link to the text of "King Horn"

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/hornfrm.htm

and here is a summary from the same site:

Late twelfth-century romance based on an Old French predecessor. Fifteen Saracen ships raid the coast of Suddene, slaying Mody the king. The queen hides under a rock but young Prince Horn and twelve of his youthful retainers are cast adrift at sea to die. His boat comes ashore at Westernesse where King Almair raises him under the care the good steward Athelbrus, who teaches him hunting and harping. The Princes Rimenhild falls wildly in love with him but Athelbrus protects the youth from her by sending Athulf, his loyal retainer to her bed instead in an effort to slow her passions down. She agrees to be more mild providing she can have Horn, who comes to her but convinces her that she must first make him a knight. She does and to prove his prowess he slays many Saracens. The wicked Fikenhild then exposes the youths' affections toward each other and King Almair, finding them together in bed, banishes Horn. Rimenhild gives him a magic ring, and he goes to Ireland, defeats a giant, wins Reynald as bride, but chooses to keep her in reserve. Meanwhile wicked Fikenhild attempts to steal Rimenhild for himself, but Horn returns first disguised as a palmer and then disguised as a fisherman with a "colmie snute" (sooty nose). As Rimenhild serves the beggar he drops the ring in the cup and she recognizes him and he rescues her. But still he cannot marry her, despite her terrifyingly portentous dream of a great fish that is attempting to devour her, for he must win back Suddenne and free his mother. This time he takes Athulf with him. They find Athulf's father who leads them to Horn's mother. As horns sound, Horn destroys the Saracens in an apocalyptic surge. He dreams then of Rimenhild's danger and returns to Westernesse just in time for Fikenhild's wedding feast. He goes to the head table disguised as a harper, tells Rimenhild that he is a "fisher," which she reads as the answer to her dream. She recognizes him again, and this time he slays Fikenhild rather than trust him a third time. Athulf marries Reynald (the spare bride) and rules Ireland. Athelbrus the good steward is given Westernesse, and Horn and Rimenhild rule happily in Suddenne.



near the Gladden Fields he was waylaid by the Orcs of the Mountains

Late in his life, Tolkien wrote a detailed account of Isildur's death, which is published in Unfinished Tales as "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields." In this account, the Orcs who attacked Isildur's party did not come from the mountains, but were a band sent out from Mordor before the war of the Last Alliance to ambush and harass Elvish forces marching southwards.

Gladden is an Old English name for the iris. Tolkien wrote in the Guide to Translation:
Gladden is here the name for the 'flag' or iris (Old English glædene), now usually spelt gladdon, and has no connection with English glad and the verb gladden. Translate by sense, but avoid if possible the 'learned' name iris.


In Letter 297, Tolkien says that glædene is
in my book supposed to refer to the "yellow flag" growing in streams and marshes: sc. iris pseudacorus, and not iris foetidissima to which in mod. E. the name gladdon is usually given, at any rate by botanists.

Letters at p. 381.

Here is the "yellow flag":

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/iripse09.html

And here is iris foetidissima, the "gladwyn iris," "stinking iris," or "stinking gladwyn":

http://www.killerplants.com/whats-in-a-name/20031024.asp

Tolkien described the Gladden Fields in a note to the account in UT:
The Gladden Fields (Loeg Ningloron). In the Elder Days, when the Silvan Elves first settled there, they were a lake formed in a deep depression into which the Anduin poured from the North down the swiftest part of its course, a long descent of some seventy miles, and there mingled with the torrent of the Gladden River (Sir Ninglor) hastening from the Mountains. The lake had been wider west of Anduin, for the eastern side of the valley was steeper; but on the east it probably reached as far as the feet of the long slopes down from the forest (then still wooded), its reedy borders being marked by the gentler slope just below the path that Isildur was following. The lake had become a great marsh, through which the river wandered in a wilderness of islets, and wide beds of reed and rush, and armies of yellow iris that grew taller than a man and gave their name to all the region and to the river from the Mountains about whose lower course they grew most thickly. But the marsh had receded to the east, and from the foot of the lower slopes there were now wide flats, grown with grass and small rushes on which men would walk.


UT, pp. 292-93 (1st US paperback).
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Postby roaccarcsson » Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:58 pm

there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people. I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors for they loved the River, and often swam in it, or made little boats of reeds.

See The Prologue for details of the three different breeds of Hobbits.

There was among them a family of high repute, for it was large and wealthier than most, and it was ruled by a grand-mother of the folk, stern and wise in old lore, such as they had.

Letter 214 discusses the "recessive and decadent Stoor-country of Wilderland" and the role of a "matriarch" such as Smeagol's grand-mother.

There is no reason to suppose that the Stoors of Wilderland had developed a strictly "matriarchal" system, properly so called. No trace of any such thing was to be found among the Stoor-element in the Eastfarthing and Buckland, though they maintained various differences of custom and law. Gandalf's use (or rather his reporter and translator's use) of the word "matriarch" was not "anthropological," but meant simply a woman who in fact ruled the clan. No doubt because she had outlived her husband, and was a woman of dominant character.


Letters at 296 (1st U.S. ed.)


The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that family was called Smeagol.

From Appendix B: The Tale of Years:

2463. The White Council is formed. About this time Deagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Smeagol.


He had a friend called Dèagol, of similar sort

Clark Hall's dictionary of Old English gives dèagol and dígol as variant spellings of díegol, meaning as an adjective "secret, hidden, unknown, obscure, deep."

http://penguin.pearson.swarthmore.edu/~scrist1/scanned_books/tiff/oe_clarkhall/b0075.tiff


"I don't care," said Déagol. "I have given you a present already, more than I could afford. I found this, and I'm going to keep it."

A reader wrote to Tolkien, asking why Bilbo gave presents to the guests at his birthday party, while this passage indcates that among Smeagol's people, it was the person celebrating the birthday who received presents. In response, the author drafted a long letter (Letter 214) which gives a detailed description of Hobbit birthday (and other) customs. This is too elaborate to quote in full, but the pertinent information is that two distinct practices were involved. Relatives of the byrding were expected, by ancient custom, to give him or her a present on the eve or morning of the birthday; close friends might also give such presents, though there was no obligation involved. Letters at pp. 291-92 (1st U.S. ed.). As an entirely separate matter, if the byrding gave a party to celebrate, the guests would expect to receive small presents "as part of the entertainment (if secondary to the fare provided)." Id. at 292-93. [It is interesting that such presents, under the heading "goodie bags," have come to be expected by child birthday party guests in the United States, and are omitted at risk of tantrums. Such was not the case when Tolkien wrote.]

Thus the presents given by Bilbo fell into the second class, while Smèagol would have felt entitled to a present from Dèagol under the first custom:
Dèagol, evidently a relative (as no doubt all the members of the small community were), had already given his customary present to Smèagol, although they probably set out on their expedition v. early in the morning. Being a mean little soul he grudged it. Smèagol, being meaner and greedier, tried to use the birthday as an act of tyranny. "Beause I wants it" was his frank statement of his chief claim. But he also implied that D's g_ft was a poor and insufficient token: hence D's report that it was more than he could afford.

Id. at 292.

Byrding evidently derives from Old English byrd, "birth." The word does not appear in an online Old English dictionary with the meaning "one celebrating a birthday." (Byrding does appear with the meaning "embroidery," but that is presumably from a different root.) Regardless of whether the word is actually attested, or is Tolkien's invention, it would be a natural formation in OE.

http://penguin.pearson.swarthmore.edu/~scrist1/scanned_books/tiff/oe_clarkhall/b0055.tiff

No one ever found out what had become of Dèagol; he was murdered far from home, and his body was cunningly hidden.

According to Clark Hall, dèagol/dígol/díegol as a noun means "concealment, obscurity, secrecy, mystery: hidden place, grave." (Emphasis added.)

http://penguin.pearson.swarthmore.edu/~scrist1/scanned_books/tiff/oe_clarkhall/b0075.tiff

‘A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. It may slip off treacherously, but its keeper never abandons it. At most he plays with the idea of handing it on to someone else’s care - and that only at an early stage, when it first begins to grip. But as far as I know Bilbo alone in history has ever gone beyond playing, and really done it.

This must be a slip-up. The One Ring were never given away voluntarily, but the other Rings of Power were. The seven rings of the dwarves were sometimes given by the King to his heir, as seen in Apendix A:
Years afterwards Thrór, now old, poor, and desperate, gave to his son Thráin the one great treasure he still possessed, the last of the Seven Rings,


Narya and Vilya were also given away voluntarily:
Throughout the Third Age the guardianship of the Three Rings was known only to those who possessed them. But at the end it became known that they had been held at first by the three greatest of the Eldar: Gil-galad, Galadriel and Círdan. Gil-galad before he died gave his ring to Elrond; Círdan later surrendered his to Mithrandir. For Círdan saw further and deeper than any other in Middle-earth, and he welcomed Mithrandir at the Grey Havens, knowing whence he came and whither he would return.
'Take this ring, Master,' he said, 'for your labours will be heavy; but it will support you in the weariness that you have taken upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill. But as for me, my heart is with the Sea, and I will dwell by the grey shores until the last ship sails. I will await you.'

From Appendix B


behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker's

The "something else" referred to here is the power of Eru, the omnipotent Creator, or the intervention of the Valar, Eru's deputies in Middle-earth:

em
. . . I have purposely kept all allusions to the highest matters down to mere hints, perceptible only by the most attentive, or kept them under unexplained symbolic forms. So God and the "angelic" gods, the Lords or Powers of the West, only peep through in such places as Gandalf's conversation with Frodo: [quoting this passage].


Letter 156, Letters at 201 (1st US ed.)

Gollum was found.[Aragorn] returned out of great perils bringing the miserable creature with him.

Exact details are given in UT. Aragorn captured Gollum on 1st February, and conveyed him to Mirkwood reaching Thranduil on 21st March, a journey of nine hundred miles completed in fifty days. Gandalf arrived two days later, questioned Gollum and left for Hobbiton on 29th March.

[...] the Land of Mordor.

Mordor (Sindarin, mor-, 'black', dor, 'land' ) is a region east of the lower reaches of the river Anduin, enclosed on the north, west and south by encircling mountain chains.

And sooner or later as he lurked and pried on the borders he would be caught, and taken - for examination.

Under the year 3009, Appendix B says:
Gandalf and Aragorn renew their hunt for Gollum at intervals during the next eight years, searching in the vales of Anduin, Mirkwood, and Rhovanion to the confines of Mordor. At some time during these years Gollum himself ventured into Mordor, and was captured by Sauron.


One of the accounts collected by Christopher Tolkien in "The Hunt for the Ring" (Part 3.IV of Unfinished Tales) says that Gollum was taken in 3017. In his Introduction, CT concludes that all the documents in Part 3.IV were written after the publication of FotR, but before the compilation of the Appendices. Thus it was evidently JRRT's considered decision to leave this date uncertain. It seems likely that he did so to maintain consistency with the premise that LotR was all derived from the information preserved in the Red Book: The compilers of the Red Book would have had no way of knowing this date, since the archives of Barad-Dûr could hardly have survived its collape. (The same is true of a great deal of the information on "The Hunt for the Ring," which would have been known only to Sauron or to the Nazgûl.

Your small fire, of course, would not melt even ordinary gold.

The melting point of pure gold is 1064 °C (1948 °F). Pure gold is denoted as being 24 carats. Pure gold, however, is not often used in making jewelry, because it is too soft. So, another metal (such as silver, zinc or copper) is often alloyed with the gold to strengthen it. This blended metal will have a different melting point, because the alloyed metal will have an impact. As little as 3.2% silicon alloyed with otherwise pure gold will reduce the melting point to merely 370°C!

http://www.aimsolder.com/troubleshoot/A ... cialty.pdf

Both copper and silver will decrease the melting point of gold, though not so drastically. If copper is alloyed with gold, the metal will have a more reddish (or even pinkish) color, and the melting point may be in the range of 900-1000°C. Zinc and tin alloys would also decrease the melting point of the gold.

http://www.gold.org/jewellery/technology/alloys/

If we are not familiar with the actual alloy, we cannot pinpoint the melting temperature of any gold ring.

A wood fire can burn as hot as 460°C (860°F)

http://www.canren.gc.ca/prod_serv/index ... 3&PgId=613

while a forest fire can reach a temperature of 1000°C!

http://www.ffp.csiro.au/nfm/fbm/vesta/f_tower.html

If a vein of coal were to catch fire underground, the temperature would also rise to 1000°C.

http://pub-geo.tuwien.ac.at/showentry.p ... 3E%3Chr%3E

Natural gas can have a flame temperature of 1,649°C (3,000°F), but of course this fuel was not readily available in Middle Earth.

http://www.process-heating.com/CDA/Arti ... 21,00.html

Molten lava varies in temperature between 700° to 1,250° Celsius.

http://teacher.scholastic.com/researcht ... s/lava.htm

The variation is related to the types of rock that the magma comes from. The Hawaiian volcanoes are at the upper end of this range.

It is dangerous to apply material science to magical objects, but it is likely that Sauron alloyed the gold in his Ring with some other metal that both increased the strength and the melting temperature of the gold. But it is also just as likely that the Ring had some magical protection that allowed it to be resistant to melting, deformation and general destruction.

there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough

Dragons. They had not stopped; since they were active in far later times, closer to our own. Have I said anything to suggest the final ending of dragons? If so it should be altered. The only passage I can think of is Vol I p. 70: [quoting this passage]. But that implies, I think, that there are still dragons, if not of full primeval stature



There is only one way: to find the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-mountain,

JRRT explains his use of 'Cracks of Doom' in his 'Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings':
Crack of Doom. In modern use derived from Macbeth IV i 117, in which the cracke of Doome means 'the announcement of the Last Day', by a crack or peal of thunder: so it is commonly supposed, but it may mean 'the sound of the last trump', since crack could be applied to the sudden sound of horns or trumpets (as it is in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight lines 116, 1166). In this story crack is here used in the sense 'fissure', and refers to the volcanic fissure in the crater of Orodruin in Mordor.

Orodruin (Sindarin orod, 'mountain' ('mountains' (plural) is ered), ruin, 'red flame' (the Quenya form is rúnya)) is the active volcano within Mordor used by Sauron as his magical forges. Owing to ancient prophecy, it was also called 'Mount Doom'.
Mount Doom. This was (in Gondor) the Common Speech name of the volcano Orodruin ('Mountain of red flame'), but was a translation of its other Elvish name Amon Amarth ('Hill of Doom'), given to Sauron's forge-mountain because it was linked in ancient and little-understood prophecies with the 'doom', the final end of the Third Age, that it was foretold would befall when Isildur's Bane was found again; see the verses in I 259. Translate by sense: 'Mountain (of) doom' (in the sense 'impending fate').

'Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings'.


'When you go, go as Mr. Underhill.'

This is not a name of Gandalf's invention. There are "several Underhills from Staddle," as we learn in At The Sign of the Prancing Pony.

There ain't no eaves at Bag-End

Eaves: The edges or lower borders of the roof of a building, which overhang the walls, and cast off the water that falls on the roof.
www.dictionary.com

The "eavesdrop" of a building is the area under the eaves, where the diverted rainwater falls. An "eavesdropper" is a person who stands in the eavesdrop, next to a window, to hear what is being said insde. The OED suggests that "eavesdrop," as a verb, is probably a "back-formation" from "eavesdropper," as the noun is recorded from the late 15th century, and the verb not until the beginning of the 17th.

Since Bag End is built into a hill, it would be odd if it did have a roof with eaves. Even the actual house at Crickhollow had a turf roof.


fill the garden full of grass snakes

Grass snakes eat spotted toads:

http://www.bto.org/gbw/herps/species%20accounts/grasssnake.htm

Grass Snake, so capitalized, is the "official" English name of Natrix natrix. There is no Spotted Toad, however. Any toad in a Shire garden (barring magical intervention) would be the Common Toad, Bufo bufo.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:58 pm

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Postby MithLuin » Wed Apr 28, 2004 5:08 pm

<strong>Mad Baggins</strong><BR><BR>In the previous chapter, Old Rory Brandybuck commented "I believe that <u>mad Baggins</u> is off again," and the most popular comment by other hobbits was 'He's <u>mad</u>. I always said so.' We are here given a glimpse of how an actual event can pass into legend, in Tolkien's mind. To understand his thoughts on the subject, refer to his essay 'On Fairy Stories,' published in 'Tree and Leaf' and 'The Tolkien Reader'. <BR><BR><strong>the other half of his mind</strong><BR><BR>This can be compared to the part of Bilbo that was opposed to his 'Tookish part' in <em>The Hobbit</em>. Frodo is related to the Tooks, but neither of his parents was a Took. Despite the similarity, Frodo's situation is not identical to Bilbo's.<BR><BR><strong>passing and not returning</strong><BR><BR>They were travelling to the Grey Havens, a place where elven shipwrights lived. The reason that they did not return is because they took ship there. See below.<BR><BR><strong>they were leaving Middle Earth</strong><BR><BR>The ships departing from the Grey Havens are bound for Tol Eressea, an elvish island off the coast of Valinor, home of the Valar, also called the Undying Lands. <BR>(the idea of 'exiled elves' goes with Gildor, right?)<BR><BR><strong>the Enemy</strong><BR><BR>Sauron. See annotation below (it would go w/ Gandalf's conversation, I think...)<BR><BR><strong>Mordor</strong><BR><BR>Black Land. See below.<BR><BR><strong>evil power in Mirkwood</strong><BR><BR>This event occured during <em>The Hobbit</em>, though it was dealt with only briefly. The evil power is the Necromancer, and dealing with him was Gandalf's 'pressing business away south' which caused him to abandon the dwarves temporarily. <BR><BR><strong>the Dark Tower</strong><BR><BR>Barad-dur.<BR><BR><strong>The Bounders</strong><BR><BR>See the annotation in the Prologue.<BR><BR><strong>took a good look at him...seemed chiefly interested in small news about Frodo's health</strong><BR><BR>Gandalf clearly has some suspicions about Bilbo's ring, and here he seems to be checking on any effect it might be having on Frodo. We have already been told that Frodo, like Bilbo, seems well-preserved: <em>outwardly he retained the appearance of a robust and energetic hobbit just out of his tweens</em>. <BR><BR><strong>blew smoke-rings</strong><BR><BR>This talent of Gandalf's is evident at 'An Unexpected Party' in The Hobbit.<BR><BR><strong>Eregion</strong><BR><BR>Land of Holly - see etymology in 'The Council of Elrond'<BR><BR><strong>altogether precious</strong><BR><BR>The Ring will not tolerate Frodo even contemplating destroying It. This is the only place where Frodo refers to the Ring as precious prior to (meeting Gollum?).<BR><BR><strong>Ancalagon the Black</strong><BR><BR>This dragon perished during the battle called the War of Wrath, in which Morgoth was finally overcome and the First Age drew to a close. (Earendil killed him, right? Or is that a matter of legend instead of history?)<BR><BR><strong>it is some time since I have heard the sound of your shears</strong><BR><BR>The night before, at the Green Dragon, it was mentioned that Sam had to cut the grass. <em>The sound of Sam Gamgee cutting the lawn</em> is mentioned during the first lull in Frodo and Gandalf's conversation. At the end of the tale of Gollum [the point where he goes to Mordor], <em>no sound of Sam's shears could now be heard.</em>. <BR><BR><strong>eaves</strong><BR><BR>Eaves: The edges or lower borders of the roof of a building, which overhang the walls, and cast off the water that falls on the roof.<BR>www.dictionary.com<BR><BR>Since Bag End is built into a hill, it would be odd if it did have a roof with eaves. Even the actual house at Crickhollow had a turf roof.<BR><BR><strong>fill the garden full of grass snakes</strong><BR><BR>Grass snakes eat spotted toads.
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:12 pm

<strong>Folco Boffin</strong><BR><BR>CJRT notes in <em>The Peoples of Middle-earth</em>:<UL>It is a curious fact that the genealogical tables of the families of Bolger of Budgeford and Boffin of the Yale were already in print when they were rejected from Appendix C, but I have not been able to find any evidence bearing on the reason for their rejection. In a letter from the publishers of 20 May 1955 my father was told: 'We have dropped Bolger and Boffin from Appendix C', and on 24 May Rayner Unwin wrote: 'I have deleted the two family trees and the redundant note that introduced them' (no copy of either tree has any note specifically relating to them).<BR><BR>'The Family Trees', <em>The Peoples of Middle-earth</em>.</UL>In the final version of the <em>Boffins of the Yale</em> genealogy, Folco (son of Vigo, son of Jago) is shown to be the Great-grandson of Hugo Boffin and Donnamira Took. Folco is recorded as being born in SR 1378, making him ten years Frodo's junior.<pre> -------------------------</pre><strong>But what about these Tree-men, these giants, as you might call them?</strong><BR><BR>It remains a possibility that the 'Tree-man' seen by Sam's cousin Halfast may have been a giant rather than as popularly supposed, an ent or entwife.<BR><BR><strong>‘But this one was as big as an elm tree, and walking - walking seven yards to a stride, if it was an inch.’</strong><BR><BR>Given that the stride of this 'Tree-man' (21 feet) is almost three times as great as Treebeard's stride (7½ feet as given by Fonstad), it is just as likely (if not <em>more</em> likely) to be a giant as an ent, the 'tree-man' appellation referring only to stature rather than its nature or appearance. JRRT's Giants in <em>The Book of Lost Tales</em> are both likened to or compared with elm-trees. <em>Nan</em> is described in the Index as '<em>a giant'</em>, and <em>Gilim: 'A Giant ('Winter'? )</em>. On Pgs 67-8, CJRT notes it <em>seems to say Nan was 'a giant of summer of the South', and that he was like an Elm</em>. Gilim is called <em>'the Giant of Eruman</em>, and on Page 46, <em>Gilim the giant that is taller than many elm trees</em>. This suggests that the idea of 'giant' was linked with that of 'elm-tree' in JRRT's mind - circumstantial evidence that Hal's creature was a Giant.<BR><BR>
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Postby Alberich » Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:54 am

<strong>The conversation in </strong><em>The Green Dragon </em><strong>at Bywater, one evening</strong><BR><BR>'Green Dragon' is a much more common pub name than 'Ivy Bush' (see 'A Long Awaited Party'). This database <a href='http://www.jetlink.net/~bconroy/' target=_blank>http://www.jetlink.net/~bconroy/</a> records 100 examples all over England and Wales. For example there is a 'Green Dragon' in Cambridge <a href='http://www.cambridge2000.com/cambridge2000/html/0005/P5311052.html' target=_blank>http://www.cambridge2000.com/cambridge2000/html/0005/P5311052.html</a> that is known to date back to the 1500s.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:28 am

<strong>[Saruman] is great among the Wise. He is chief of my order and head of the Council.</strong><BR><BR><em>Saruman is said (e.g. by Gandalf himself) to have been the chief of the Istari – that is, higher in Valinórean stature than the others. Gandalf is evidently the next in the order. Radagast is presented as a person of much less power and wisdom. <BR><BR>'The Istari', Unfinished Tales</em><BR><BR><strong>The lore of the Elven-rings, great and small, is his province.</strong><BR><BR><em>And Curunir (that was Saruman the White) was chosen to be their chief, for he had most studied the devices of Sauron of old.... But Saruman now began to study the lore of the Rings of Power, their making and their history.<BR><BR>The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power.</em><BR><BR>Thanks for starting this, roac.
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Postby MithLuin » Sun May 02, 2004 2:23 pm

<strong>and that's a fact</strong><BR><BR>This phrase is often used by Farmer Giles in Tolkien's short story 'Farmer Giles of Ham.' (I feel like I should comment more, but really, I just wanted to point out the parallel. If anyone else would like to comment, please add to this!)<BR><BR><strong>one evening in the spring of Frodo's fiftieth year</strong><BR><BR>The text later states that it was 'early April', but also that this is the very evening that Gandalf arrives again. Appendix B gives the date as April 12th.<BR><BR><strong>Next morning after a late breakfast,</strong><BR><BR>April 13, 3018
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Postby Silverfoot » Sun May 02, 2004 5:03 pm

We might also note in the annotation on dragons: The the existence of fire-breathing dragons was not known until the Fourth Battle of the First Age-- the Dagor Bragollach. The first dragon was Glaurung the Golden. (Silmarillion)<BR><BR>(I'm fairly sure that's correct, but someone please tell me if I'm wrong.)<BR><BR><strong>'And now,' said the wizard, turning back to Frodo, 'the decision lies with you.'</strong><BR>This is an echo of Tolkien's emphasis on free will being important to the "good" peoples of Middle Earth, and a precursor to Frodo's choice in The Council of Elrond. (See the annotations in that chapter.)<BR><BR><strong>'When you go, go as Mr. Underhill.'</strong><BR>This is not a name of Gandalf's invention. There are "several Underhills from Staddle," as we learn in At The Sign of the Prancing Pony.
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Mon May 03, 2004 4:34 am

A belated congrats on your 500 posts, Silverfoot. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby pippinsqueak » Mon May 03, 2004 6:38 am

<strong><em>'When you go, go as Mr. Underhill.'</strong><BR>This is not a name of Gandalf's invention. There are "several Underhills from Staddle," as we learn in At The Sign of the Prancing Pony. </em><BR><BR>It's also a pun, since Bag End in located within, or under, The Hill.
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Postby MithLuin » Mon May 03, 2004 10:33 am

<BR>Is there a place where it refers to Bilbo as 'Mr. Baggins of Bag End, Underhill'? The phrase sounds familiar to me, but it would have to be from the Hobbit, I think. If I find it, I'll post it here....
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Postby Silverfoot » Mon May 03, 2004 11:45 am

That's when Bilbo returns to find all his goods being auctioned off: <em>There was a large notice in black and red hung on the gate, stating that on June the Twenty-second Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes would sell by auction the effects of the late Bilbo Baggins Esquire, of Bag-End, Underhill, Hobbiton.</em><BR><BR>Good memory, MithLuin!<BR><BR>(And thanks for the congrats, Queen_Beruthiel! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>)
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Tue May 04, 2004 3:18 pm

<strong>...there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people. I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors for they loved the River, and often swam in it, or made little boats of reeds. </strong><BR><BR>See <em>The Prologue</em> for details of the three different breeds of Hobbits.<BR><BR><strong>There was among them a family of high repute, for it was large and wealthier than most, and it was ruled by a grand-mother of the folk, stern and wise in old lore, such as they had.</strong><BR><BR>Letter 214 refers to the "recessive and decadent Stoor-country of Wilderland" and the role of a matriarch such as Smeagol's grand-mother.<BR><BR><strong>The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that family was called Smeagol.</strong><BR><BR>From Appendix B: The Tale of Years:<BR><BR><em>2463. The White Council is formed. About this time Deagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Smeagol. </em>
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Postby Queen_Beruthiel » Wed May 05, 2004 4:55 pm

... Gollum was found.[Aragorn] returned out of great perils bringing the miserable creature with him.

Exact details are given in UT. Aragorn captured Gollum on 1st February, and conveyed him to Mirkwood reaching Thranduil on 21st March, a journey of nine hundred miles completed in fifty days. Gandalf arrived two days later, questioned Gollum and left for Hobbiton on 29th March.
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Mon May 24, 2004 1:58 pm

[...] the Land of Mordor.

Mordor (Sindarin, mor-, 'black', dor, 'land' ) is a region east of the lower reaches of the river Anduin, enclosed on the north, west and south by encircling mountain chains.

There is only one way: to find the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-mountain,

JRRT explains his use of 'Cracks of Doom' in his 'Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings':
Crack of Doom. In modern use derived from Macbeth IV i 117, in which the cracke of Doome means 'the announcement of the Last Day', by a crack or peal of thunder: so it is commonly supposed, but it may mean 'the sound of the last trump', since crack could be applied to the sudden sound of horns or trumpets (as it is in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight lines 116, 1166). In this story crack is here used in the sense 'fissure', and refers to the volcanic fissure in the crater of Orodruin in Mordor.

Orodruin (Sindarin orod, 'mountain' ('mountains' (plural) is ered), ruin, 'red flame' (the Quenya form is rúnya)) is the active volcano within Mordor used by Sauron as his magical forges. Owing to ancient prophecy, it was also called 'Mount Doom'.
Mount Doom. This was (in Gondor) the Common Speech name of the volcano Orodruin ('Mountain of red flame'), but was a translation of its other Elvish name Amon Amarth ('Hill of Doom'), given to Sauron's forge-mountain because it was linked in ancient and little-understood prophecies with the 'doom', the final end of the Third Age, that it was foretold would befall when Isildur's Bane was found again; see the verses in I 259. Translate by sense: 'Mountain (of) doom' (in the sense 'impending fate').

'Guide to Names in The Lord of the Rings'.
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Postby wilko185 » Thu Jun 03, 2004 4:55 pm

But in the meantime, the general opinion in the neighbourhood was that Bilbo, who had always been rather cracked, had at last gone quite mad, and had run off into the Blue. There he had undoubtedly fallen into a pool or a river and come to a tragic, but hardly an untimely, end. The blame was mostly laid on Gandalf.

Bilbo's words to Gandalf at their first meeting in The Hobbit suggest Gandalf had always had such a local reputation:
"Dear me!" he went on. "Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures. Anything from climbing trees to visiting Elves - or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life used to be quite inter - I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time"




He refused to go into mourning; and the next year he gave a party in honour of Bilbo’s hundred-and-twelfth birthday, which he called a Hundred-weight Feast

Bilbo's 112th birthday feast was presumably so named because the "hundred-weight" is a British imperial unit of weight equal to 112 pounds.



'The shadow fell on me again. But I said to myself: "After all he comes of a long-lived family on his mother’s side. There is time yet. Wait!"'

Bilbo's mother was Belladonna Took, daughter of the Old Took. He lived to 130, the oldest recorded hobbit apart from Bilbo himself.
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Postby Aravar » Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:01 pm

I'm not sure about the suitability, but:

the North Moors

While writing LOTR, JRRT resided at 20 Northmoor Road, Oxford. (see Letters eg Letter33)

the Battle of Five Armies

The Battle is described in Chapter XVII of THe Hobbit 'The Clouds Burst'.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:04 pm

near the Gladden Fields he was waylaid by the Orcs of the Mountains

Late in his life, Tolkien wrote a detailed account of Isildur's death, which is published in Unfinished Tales as "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields." In this account, the Orcs who attacked Isildur's party did not come from the mountains, but were a band sent out from Mordor before the war of the Last Alliance to ambush and harass Elvish forces marching southwards.

Gladden is an Old English name for the iris. Tolkien wrote in the Guide to Translation:
Gladden is here the name for the 'flag' or iris (Old English glædene), now usually spelt gladdon, and has no connection with English glad and the verb gladden. Translate by sense, but avoid if possible the 'learned' name iris.


In Letter 297, Tolkien says that glædene is
in my book supposed to refer to the "yellow flag" growing in streams and marshes: sc. iris pseudacorus, and not iris foetidissima to which in mod. E. the name gladdon is usually given, at any rate by botanists.

Letters at p. 381.

Here is the "yellow flag":

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/iripse09.html

And here is iris foetidissima, the "gladwyn iris," "stinking iris," or "stinking gladwyn":

http://www.killerplants.com/whats-in-a-name/20031024.asp

Tolkien described the Gladden Fields in a note to the account in UT:
The Gladden Fields (Loeg Ningloron). In the Elder Days, when the Silvan Elves first settled there, they were a lake formed in a deep depression into which the Anduin poured from the North down the swiftest part of its course, a long descent of some seventy miles, and there mingled with the torrent of the Gladden River (Sir Ninglor) hastening from the Mountains. The lake had been wider west of Anduin, for the eastern side of the valley was steeper; but on the east it probably reached as far as the feet of the long slopes down from the forest (then still wooded), its reedy borders being marked by the gentler slope just below the path that Isildur was following. The lake had become a great marsh, through which the river wandered in a wilderness of islets, and wide beds of reed and rush, and armies of yellow iris that grew taller than a man and gave their name to all the region and to the river from the Mountains about whose lower course they grew most thickly. But the marsh had receded to the east, and from the foot of the lower slopes there were now wide flats, grown with grass and small rushes on which men would walk.


UT, pp. 292-93 (1st US paperback).
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Postby MithLuin » Mon Aug 02, 2004 7:06 pm

But as far as I know Bilbo alone in history has ever gone beyond playing, and really done it.

An odd statement by Gandalf. It is certainly true that no one else has ever given the One Ring away. It can also safely be assumed that the Nine Rings were not given away by their owners at any time. But the Seven and the Three are also Great Rings, and their history is a bit different. Gil-galad gave Vilya, one of the Three, to his herald before his death. Gandalf ought to know that the keeper of Narya willingly relinquished it! (see Appendix B, p. 1060) Thror gave the last of the Seven Rings to his son Thrain about 2790 (See Appendix A, p. 1047). The history of the other six is not known, though it is possible that they were passed along as heirlooms in dwarf families before being destroyed or recaptured.

as for giving them away, it was a lie

Gandalf has previously mentioned that giving away Great Rings is nearly impossible. Apparently, Lesser Rings would also be difficult to give up or too valuable to part with.
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Postby Aravar » Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:36 am

The Shadow of the Past(Chapter heading)

Drafts of this Chapter appear in HOME Vol 6 at pp 76-87, 250-272, 318-323, Vol 7 pp 21-29

In Tolkien's original conception it appears that information about the Ring and the Nazgul was conveyed not by Gandalf, but by Gildor Inglorion (see HOME 6 pp 73-75), who in the final version declines to comment.

the Black Years

These were the years of Sauron's dominion of Middle-Earth in the Second Age. A chronology of the Second Age appears in Appendix B The Tale of Years.

Westernesse

The Island of Numenor, whose history is recounted in The Akallabeth in the Silmarillion (1st Paperback Ed pp 312-339)

Ancalagon the Black

Anclagon is described in 'Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath'(Silmarillion, ibid p303) as the mightiest of the dragon host. Slain by Earendil, Elrond's father, his fall broke the towers of Thangorodrim, stronghold of Morgoth.

memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass

Sun on daisies is an answer to one of Gollum's riddles. The full account of the riddle-game appears in The Hobbit, Chapter V 'Riddles in the Dark'.
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Postby vison » Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:39 pm

These "annotated" chapters are FASCINATING. I hope the project continues!


Wanderings, as in wandering about, are "peregrinations". So Peregrin Took was really well named, as is mentioned above.

And the word "bruit" is discussed in a thread about another chapter, The Flight to the Ford, I think. "bruit" means rumour, yes, but the word can be used this way, "bruited about", meaning "spread about". Not really relevant, but interesting.
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:05 am

I might perhaps have consulted Saruman the White, but something always held me back.

The name "Saruman" is a modernized form of Old English *searoman, meaning "Man of Skill." The asterisk means that this compound is not actually recorded in any OE text, though the roots of which it is made are well-documented. The online Clark Hall dictionary records a substantial number of compounds beginning with the root searo-.

http://penguin.pearson.swarthmore.edu/~ ... b0259.tiff

Shippey (in The Road to Middle-earth) makes the point that Saruman is NOT 'modernized' Old English but instead a different dialectal form of Old English:
All the Riders' names and language are Old English, as many have noted; but they were homely to Tolkien in an even deeper sense than that.
    Not many have noted that they are not in the 'standard' or 'classical' West Saxon dialect of Old English but in what is thought to have been its Mercian parallel: so Saruman, Hasufel, Herugrim for 'standard' Searuman, Heasufel, Heorugrim, and cp. Mearc and *Marc. In Letters p. 65 [Letter 53] Tolkien threatens to speak nothing but 'Old Mercian'.
'A Cartographic Plot', The Road to Middle-earth, T. A. Shippey.

Tolkien made his home within the ancient boundaries of Mercia and regarded himself as a descendant of the Mercians (See his letter to CJRT: For barring the Tolkien (which must long ago have become a pretty thin strand) you are a Mercian or Hwiccian (of Wychwood) on both sides. (Letter 95, (1945)). Thus he chose to use the Old Mercian dialect rather than the dictionary 'standard'.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Aug 16, 2004 3:49 pm

However farfetched others may consider the following to be, I am not to be deterred:

fifty was a number that he felt was somehow significant (or ominous)

It does not appear that Tolkien ever explicated the significance of the number fifty in this context. It may be worth noting that the "normal" Hobbit lifespan appears to have been approximately 100 years, so that Frodo was reaching the "halfway point" of his life. It is just possible that there is a deliberate echo of Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" (La Commedia Divina) here. The first line of the Commedia is Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, "In the middle of our life's journey," by which Dante is taken to mean that he was 35 years old when the narrative opens; the "normal" human lifespan being stated in the Bible as 70 years - "three score and ten," in the King James translation of Psalm 90, v. 10. Tolkien was very familiar with Dante, whom he called a "supreme poet," though with "blemishes." Letter 294, at p. 377.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Aug 16, 2004 3:49 pm

However farfetched others may consider the following to be, I am not to be deterred:

fifty was a number that he felt was somehow significant (or ominous)

It does not appear that Tolkien ever explicated the significance of the number fifty in this context. It may be worth noting that the "normal" Hobbit lifespan appears to have been approximately 100 years, so that Frodo was reaching the "halfway point" of his life. It is just possible that there is a deliberate echo of Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" (La Commedia Divina) here. The first line of the Commedia is Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, "In the middle of our life's journey," by which Dante is taken to mean that he was 35 years old when the narrative opens; the "normal" human lifespan being stated in the Bible as 70 years - "three score and ten," in the King James translation of Psalm 90, v. 10. Tolkien was very familiar with Dante, whom he called a "supreme poet," though with "blemishes." Letter 294, at p. 377.
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Postby pippinsqueak » Mon Aug 16, 2004 4:22 pm

Doesn't Tolkien explicitly say that 50 was significant/ominous because it was the age that Bilbo had left on his first adventure, and Frodo was beginning to feel restless and to increasingly regret not having gone with Bilbo when he left on his birthday?
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Postby MithLuin » Mon Aug 16, 2004 4:55 pm

Here is the full quote:

He began to say to himself: 'Perhaps I shall cross the River myself one day.' To which the other half of his mind always replied: 'Not yet.'
So it went on, until his forties were running out, and his fiftieth birthday was drawing near: fifty was a number that he felt was somehow significant (or ominous); it was at any rate at that age that adventure had suddenly befallen Bilbo. Frodo began to feel restless...


There is a strong parallel between Bilbo and Frodo drawn here (as pippinsqueak pointed out). They are the same age when 'the fun' starts (for the reader, of course!) Frodo is even talking to himself in the same way that Bilbo did. Bilbo's 'Tookish part' often eggs him on to adventures in The Hobbit, and Frodo is having more trouble suppressing that in himself as time goes on.

The passage could be explained as a premonition on Frodo's part of what is to come. After all, he is dreaming of 'mountains that he [has] never seen' right before this passage. A taste of foresight, if you will. Knowing what we do of his story, would you say that 50 is 'a significant (or ominous)' age for this particular hobbit? It might mean that, and nothing more.

Or, it may have general implications like the ones roac mentioned. Fifty is middle-aged for all hobbits ('the usually more sober age of fifty' is referred to earlier on the same page), and Frodo may be starting to feel that time is running out for following Bilbo. A mid-life crisis, if you will. I have no problem with including such information (as well as the reference to Dante) in an annotation, but I think it should be presented as one possible interpretation after the connection to Bilbo is made explicit. What do other people think?

And for my own (small) addition:
strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.
See the annotation on Frodo's dreams in 'A Conspiracy Unmasked' p. 106
(I feel justified in leaving the annotation in a later chapter, since the dream(s) are only mentioned in passing here.)
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Postby roaccarcsson » Mon Aug 16, 2004 8:19 pm

Doesn't Tolkien explicitly say that 50 was significant/ominous because it was the age that Bilbo had left on his first adventure


Sure it does - but that just pushes the question back. Why pick fifty for Bilbo's age at the start of TH?
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Sep 14, 2004 2:27 pm

For peer review, an addition t0 the elm-tree annotation.

Both the English elm (Ulmus procera) and the Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra), which were common in England before being decimated by Dutch Elm Disease beginning in the 1970s, can grow to be 100 feet high. A 27-foot stride would thus be very plausible for an elm tree-sized giant.

http://www.offwell.free-online.co.uk/tree_gallery/index3.htm

The yard, like most of the traditional English units used to measure length, is ultimately based on the human body: It is the distance from an adult male's nose to the tips of the fingers of his outstretched arm.

http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/custom.html

The question thus arises with respect to any meaurement used by Hobbits: When Sam talks of "nine yards," does he mean nine of "our" yards (8.2296 meters), or nine times the distance from his nose to his fingertips? Drafts of Bk. IV, ch. 1 published in HoME v. VIII show that these questions occurred to Tolkien, and that he resolved them in favor of the "real-world" units. Thus, as the notional "translator" of the Red Book, he may be assumed to have converted the actual distances given by Hobbits into their eguivalents in the English units.
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