In recent discussions we've used the last week to view the character as they appear from texts outside the LOTR story itself (e.g. Appendices, and in this case the UT Istiri chapter, and other places Tolkien might have written something relevant about Saruman). That could simply be added as a fifth week.
Oh, and I'm not sure when the next one is--not sure who
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might want to take the leap to organize it either. I think a week or 2 break would be good to clear the air a bit, and also see if anyone else would like to take a turn to organize the next one. I'll be happy to keep up with the voting, and coax some more responses, if necessary.
Firstly, it is important to say that the character discussions so far have been a triumph. Everyone who has been actively involved deserves the congratulations and appreciation of the forum.
Anyone who thinks about what has been achieved will realise that the long, through, knowledgable, non-dogmatic and insightful starter posts which have been so enjoyable here -- and so different from much online Tolkien fandom these days -- are not something that can done in an hour, or even an afternoon. It's a wonderful achievement by very talented and generous people.
And of course everyone is a volunteer.
So it is entirely natural that we tire the small group who are willing and able to organise things at any one time, or to act as chapter leaders.
These projects should keep on being fun for organisers and chapter leaders -- as well as people who reply to any discussion, or just lurk and read what is provided -- because the fun is the healthy motivation for doing it.
So I think it is a good idea to take a break whenever needed.
And for new people willing to help organise or otherwise contribue to come forwards, if they were hesitating to do so or didn't realise that would be useful.
while we sort his out democratically, I hope you don't mind a proposal to 'do' Saruman My thought is that it would be a decent stop-gap, and the advantage of this forum being a fanarchy is that anyone can just get something started.
Or Frodo and Sam together as nearly a BOGOF?
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Frodo and Sam are almost always interacting, and if we 'did' Frodo without Sam, I think it would feel artificial and be difficult to do Sam afterwards without lots of repetition.
But if we do them together we can naturally and efficiently cover what is arguably LOTR's most important relationship.
No less a writer and critic than Urslua LeGuin has suggested that Frodo and Sam are like two aspects of one character -- it would be interesting to see if we agree. She's bound to have had an interesting insight there, even for any of us who don't end up agreeing!
I don't think doing the two together would add all that much to the work of doing just Frodo (or, of just doing Sam).
But on the other hand it would be a long study anyway. How long exactly it isn't possible to say without working out a breakdown of the story into weeks of discussion. But I'm going to guess it is 12-15 weeks. I expect it would need people who don't normally lead discussions to give that task a go.