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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A discussion of "Law and Arda" by Douglas Kane
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noWizardme
Half-elven


May 30 2013, 11:29am

Post #51 of 101 (586 views)
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Thanks for finding those earlier discussions, Elizabeth! [In reply to] Can't Post

I see that we're worrying at (or about) the same issues - e.g.
is Tolkien really arguing that the end justifies the means?
And something similar to trying to decide whether orcs are "persons" (or could be persons if bought up right)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 30 2013, 1:45pm

Post #52 of 101 (568 views)
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A discussion quite all its own... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I see that we're worrying at (or about) the same issues - e.g.
is Tolkien really arguing that the end justifies the means?
And something similar to trying to decide whether orcs are "persons" (or could be persons if bought up right)




An extremely complex issue! I am regretting (ooops!) including that idea and bringing # 183 in, as ultimately it takes us down quite another (long and winding...!) road from Law...and into quite another land altogether...!

(Hint, hint, (wink) Furuncurunir....'someone' clever leading us in another fascinating discussion perhaps....?) Wink

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 30 2013, 3:20pm

Post #53 of 101 (560 views)
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I think it's doing just fine as a subthread! [In reply to] Can't Post

 I think discussions or law would have either to stick to the technical nature of the rules (which would be tough for non-practitioners to discuss). Or they are about the meaning and appropriateness of the rules, which lets hope anyone can discuss, since that's one of the roles a citizen takes in a democracy. The law ultimately reflects a society's culture and its peoples feelings of their duties and obligations to each other.

So issues like "who is a person" come in at the level of domestic law (can you steal from a dragon? Can it steal from you?). International Law is obviously a lot less mature than national-level law, but ideas such as Just War influence who might end up accused of War Crimes and on trial at the Hague. Or who might find a UN resolution bringing the blue helmets into their war.

Not sure I have much else to say on the issues, though - we can hardly raise a bunch of orcs and see if they can be taught moral sense...

International Law is even more lacking in Middle-earth, of course. Maybe things will go that way in the Fourth Age, with courts in Minas Tirith which might have been able to hear "Thorin Oakenshield Vs Smaug" But in the Third Age, there is no legal body to enforce their rights and as Thorin says, Thorin & Co. have to take their curses home to Smaug if they can.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 30 2013, 3:28pm

Post #54 of 101 (566 views)
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This is a splendid take on accountability [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Not sure I have much else to say on the issues, though - we can hardly raise a bunch of orcs and see if they can be taught moral sense... yes that's bound to be messy. ('1001 Ways we Bit the Hand that Fed Us...': another one for your TV lineup!

International Law is even more lacking in Middle-earth, of course. Maybe things will go that way in the Fourth Age, with courts in Minas Tirith which might have been able to hear "Thorin Oakenshield Vs Smaug" But in the Third Age, there is no legal body to enforce their rights and as Thorin says, Thorin & Co. have to take their curses home to Smaug if they can.




You raise a great point here, about there being so little in the way of enforceability in ME, on a grand scale. I am sure Smaug would love to roast and chow down on process servers...and as you say Orcs at their best aren't going to sign any documents or abide by any rulings. So in a small sense, in the worlds of Men and Hobbits and Dwarves - intersociety - you have ways to enforce law. But on that grand elemental plain of ME really, as you say, its taking the curses home yourself or nothing.

Certainly may impact how we see any violations against Smaug, for example: if they are 'above the law' in the sense of having complete disdain and lack of accountability, rather an 'outlaw' in a sense? Does that change the legal sense of what the Company is trying to achieve? I think it does.

Love this idea.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 30 2013, 5:23pm

Post #55 of 101 (575 views)
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which leads us back into legal fictions... [In reply to] Can't Post

Who says the law applies to me? I never signed anything to say it did. Born in Britain to British parents makes me British by default (and I'm not complaining). But I've never been called upon to affirm that I will obey the laws of my country - it must be an undertaking that my ancestors made on my behalf. But when and who exactly, and what did they agree? Legal fiction time.

Nonetheless, my obedience to British law can be expected - partly simply because the authorities can have their way by force if needed, but partly because of the link between law and Justice, ethics, good and evil, which are perhaps more likely to transcend jurisdictions and cultures


Quote
'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'


..and so Smaug who has not (as far as I know) visited the Shire and Bilbo can have a quasi-legal conversation. That is partly Tolkien getting humour by being incongruously applying law (or something quasi-legal) to a heroic epic story. But there's also a sense that any person ought to understand that they have certain obligations and certain rights. Its as if (as indeed the law uses as a legal fiction at times) sort of natural law from which all the written codes flow.

Not that this always works out, of course - we try to base law on morals, but find that there are cultural or individual differences. Something I find very interesting on this is


Quote
"Haidt, Graham and Joseph propose that the world’s diverse moralities are built on top of five psychological foundations, each primed to detect and react emotionally to transgressions or violations of different moral concerns:
  1. harm to, and care, of individuals;
  2. justice and fairness;
  3. in-group loyalty;
  4. respect for authority/tradition;
  5. and issues of purity and sanctity.
Although we’re all equipped with these psychological foundations, the ones that are actually built on varies across and within cultures. Using questionnaires, Haidt and Joseph have found that self-identified liberals in the US typically draw on the harm/care and justice/fairness in deciding moral issues. By contrast, religious and social conservatives generally take all five foundations to be relevant to their moral judgements. So when liberals and conservatives disagree, at stake is not just whose rights should be protected and how, but what counts as a legitimate moral concern in the first place. It is little wonder people so frequently talk past each other in the emotionally charged atmosphere of moral disputes."

The Emerging Moral Psychology by Dan Jones / Prospect Magazine April 27, 2008


Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


May 30 2013, 5:49pm

Post #56 of 101 (588 views)
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Spectrum of thoughts and law formulation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Who says the law applies to me? I never signed anything to say it did. Born in Britain to British parents makes me British by default (and I'm not complaining). But I've never been called upon to affirm that I will obey the laws of my country - it must be an undertaking that my ancestors made on my behalf. But when and who exactly, and what did they agree? Legal fiction time.
Nonetheless, my obedience to British law can be expected - partly simply because the authorities can have their way by force if needed, but partly because of the link between law and Justice, ethics, good and evil, which are perhaps more likely to transcend jurisdictions and cultures

Quote
'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'
..and so Smaug who has not (as far as I know) visited the Shire and Bilbo can have a quasi-legal conversation. That is partly Tolkien getting humour by being incongruously applying law (or something quasi-legal) to a heroic epic story. But there's also a sense that any person ought to understand that they have certain obligations and certain rights. Its as if (as indeed the law uses as a legal fiction at times) sort of natural law from which all the written codes flow. Not that this always works out, of course - we try to base law on morals, but find that there are cultural or individual differences. Indeed, quasi-legal is a good term, as with Smaug's intelligence he can probably work out the 'meaning' of things, and how the people he interacts with regulate their society (he just doesn't care.) The common language for Bilbo and Smaug (sort of the Venn diagram center) is the fear of being cheated, and the concept of reward and its value (which we read Smaug understands very well.) So while I guess Smaug has no interest or skill in debating, say, the rights of individuals - other than himself - he has an intimate and facile knowledge of his own materialistic view of the world. And thus as you say, can discuss this easily and convincingly with Bilbo. Something I find very interesting on this is


Quote
"Haidt, Graham and Joseph propose that the world’s diverse moralities are built on top of five psychological foundations, each primed to detect and react emotionally to transgressions or violations of different moral concerns:
  1. harm to, and care, of individuals;
  2. justice and fairness;
  3. in-group loyalty;
  4. respect for authority/tradition;
  5. and issues of purity and sanctity.
Although we’re all equipped with these psychological foundations, the ones that are actually built on varies across and within cultures. Using questionnaires, Haidt and Joseph have found that self-identified liberals in the US typically draw on the harm/care and justice/fairness in deciding moral issues. By contrast, religious and social conservatives generally take all five foundations to be relevant to their moral judgements. So when liberals and conservatives disagree, at stake is not just whose rights should be protected and how, but what counts as a legitimate moral concern in the first place. It is little wonder people so frequently talk past each other in the emotionally charged atmosphere of moral disputes."

The Emerging Moral Psychology by Dan Jones / Prospect Magazine April 27, 2008 The points here remind me a bit of the great thread Macliel Telpemairo began, about how creativity is expressed, and we discussed the internalizing and externalizing thought patterns. It seems that the 5 points are a bit of a continuum, starting with the highly person, internalized care of individuals, and heading up the spectrum to the more externalized ideals of faith and authority. In-group loyalty, in the center, being almost the philosophical center as well as it balances right between intimate self (internalizing) and outer responsibilities (externalizing). So it would depend on a societies stand in majority on this continuum as to what issues decide their behaviors and responses (ie then crafted into law.) Seems like the ideal would be to incorporate all 5 somehow; not an easy task though, especially depending on how dramatically societies change and how different present life may be from traditions in that culture.



Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


May 30 2013, 8:32pm

Post #57 of 101 (539 views)
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five, two or zero? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think its so much that Haidt's 5 moral foundations are meant to be a continuum or succession, it's more that there is disagreement as to how to weight them when they run into conflict with each other

So, to give a topical example, imagine a liberal and a conservative debating same-sex marriage; they both see that all 5 of Haidt's aspects exist. But they differ in that the liberal (according to Haidt et al.'s research) is likely to see "harm to/care of individuals" and "fairness" as the outstandingly important principles, the others being of lesser standing. Whereas the conservative understands
the need for fairness or care of individuals but sees "respect for tradition" and "issues of sanctity and purity" as things which might outweigh them. So the liberal wants to update or over-rule tradition to meet the need of fairness and to care for the people who want to get married and can't see the onjection to that, whereas the conservative is willing to disappoint the people who want to get married and to deny them something others can have if that's necessary in the interests of upholding their principles about "respect for tradition" and "issues of sanctity and purity". (And can't see why the liberal doesn't understand this is so). And so they argue without much promise of reaching agreement. That does indeed seem to be how the debate goes. I've found this helpful in respecting and understanding friends who I find are on the oppsite side to me of this particular issue (which I suggest we use only as an example, rather than debate here!)

Meanwhile, I'm sure you're right - Smaug or Gollum have no moral code and so see Zero of these as morally binding points that affect them. They can see them as things which other people could feel bound or obliged by, and that is very useful to know. But it's all "Wii-FM" (What's In It For Me?")



Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Elwen
Lorien


May 31 2013, 2:23pm

Post #58 of 101 (532 views)
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Also late, but a few thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for organizing. I've been reading some excellent comments and I'm afraid mine are not as insightful as some.

On the charge of exercising "Undue influence," I find Gandalf not guilty. He didn't nudge all that hard. All he did was invite himself and some friends over for dinner, and since Bilbo never actually attempted to kick out his unexpected guests, there was no trespass there. Bilbo had that spark of Tookishness that was going to push him out the door someday.

On the matter of Thorin & Co. and whether they are legally responsible for Bilbo's cartage, delivery, and return expenses, my opinion is that legally speaking, they are not. One could debate whether the omission of those terms was by oversight or design. If by design it was ethically questionable, but any concern such as that would have been incumbent upon Bilbo to raise before accepting the contract. (Perhaps Mr. Baggins should have stopped by his solicitor's office as he dashed through Hobbiton, just to be sure....)
As an aside, I think it's funny that the dragon is the one dragging up these cynical, but very real points. I'll refrain from making lawyer jokes, but I'm sure there's one in there somewhere.

Skipping down to the bit about finding the Ring, let me start by saying that Bilbo is much more innocent from a legal standpoint in a the books than in the movies. I think if Gollum wanted to press theft charges against Bilbo, he'd have a hard time proving that Bilbo knew the Ring was Gollum's. Gollum never specifically mentioned that his Precious was a ring. Bilbo found it, took it, and kept it. Ethically wrong? Yes, but that's the power of the Ring for you. Legally wrong? Not really. Of course, once Gollum's intent becomes to kill, then the legal dynamics change. For example, if the Misty Mountains had a "stand your ground" law, as they do in Florida, Bilbo could be legally justified in killing Gollum.

Smaug is not the legal owner of the Lonely Mountain and it's treasure. He is an invader, and later a squatter in a sense. The lawful of the cup is Thorin, and Bilbo getting it is not theft in the legal sense, though Smaug may disagree. Bilbo keeping the Arkenstone, after the lawful owner (Thorin) lays claim to it I think is definitely theft, or at least some misdemeanor level "dealing in stolen property" type charge.

I agree with the poster who likened the red ink to a blood oath. It wasn't something I had thought of before, but I could see it as a very old tradition. The number of signatures I think is a necessity in a place with so many intertwined and entangled family trees. I could see very contentious problems erupting over wills when there are so many "second cousins once removed on his mother's side" tripping over each other.

I too find it surprising that Grima was spared. In a militaristic society such as Rohan has always seemed to me, treason of this sort should have resulted in execution. However, I can only think of one execution (I'm fairly certain, but not 100%) in Tolkein's Middle Earth lore. I think it was perhaps important for Theoden, who was not long for the world in Tolkien's story, and would be painted as a fatherlike figure, to show mercy, just on a character sympathy basis. Is it also possible, that Tolkien, a devout Catholic, was uncomfortable with exercising the death penalty in a story that he knew was going to have wide distribution?

Just a few thoughts.

Before kids, exercising with LOTR meant listening to the soundtrack while I ran.

After kids, exercising with LOTR means having an all out dance party with the little ones to the "Break the Dam Release the River" disco mix form the Lego game.


Brethil
Half-elven


May 31 2013, 3:27pm

Post #59 of 101 (531 views)
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Thoughts back Elwen ;-) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for organizing. Really, I'm thrilled to have had the chance! Its been great to delve into Doug's wonderful article! I've been reading some excellent comments and I'm afraid mine are not as insightful as some. They have been excellent - so are yours Elwen!

On the charge of exercising "Undue influence," I find Gandalf not guilty. He didn't nudge all that hard. All he did was invite himself and some friends over for dinner, and since Bilbo never actually attempted to kick out his unexpected guests, there was no trespass there. ***Bilbo had that spark of Tookishness that was going to push him out the door someday
.*** So you see Gandalf as a catalyst instead if direct influence? I agree that Tookish strain was there all along, really I think that's way Gandalf had marked him down, so many years earlier as something special among Hobbits! That bit of divine vision, seeing in Bilbo something Bilbo is not even aware of, but that in the Istari form Gandalf can sense.

On the matter of Thorin & Co. and whether they are legally responsible for Bilbo's cartage, delivery, and return expenses, my opinion is that legally speaking, they are not. One could debate whether the omission of those terms was by oversight or design. If by design it was ethically questionable, but any concern such as that would have been incumbent upon Bilbo to raise before accepting the contract. (Perhaps Mr. Baggins should have stopped by his solicitor's office as he dashed through Hobbiton, just to be sure....) Another 'Contract Stands" on that point...noted!
As an aside, I think it's funny that the dragon is the one dragging up these cynical, but very real points. I'll refrain from making lawyer jokes, but I'm sure there's one in there somewhere. Indeed! as NoWiz pointed out Smaug has excellent what's-in-it-for-me skills; and I suppose it would be hard to find the sentient soul who doesn't have some, even tiny, level of insecurity or covetousness that such a mind can play upon.

Skipping down to the bit about finding the Ring, let me start by saying that Bilbo is much more innocent from a legal standpoint in a the books than in the movies. I think if Gollum wanted to press theft charges against Bilbo, he'd have a hard time proving that Bilbo knew the Ring was Gollum's. Gollum never specifically mentioned that his Precious was a ring. Bilbo found it, took it, and kept it. Ethically wrong? Yes, but that's the power of the Ring for you. Legally wrong? Not really. Of course, once Gollum's intent becomes to kill, then the legal dynamics change. For example, if the Misty Mountains had a "stand your ground" law, as they do in Florida, Bilbo could be legally justified in killing Gollum. The power of the Ring itself I think does come into play in a large way...especially since its influence is silent.

Smaug is not the legal owner of the Lonely Mountain and it's treasure. He is an invader, and later a squatter in a sense. The lawful of the cup is Thorin, and Bilbo getting it is not theft in the legal sense, though Smaug may disagree. Bilbo keeping the Arkenstone, after the lawful owner (Thorin) lays claim to it I think is definitely theft, or at least some misdemeanor level "dealing in stolen property" type charge. I think 'squatter' might be an excellent choice of term here, and once we dismiss "possession as 9/10 of the law" as Doug points out his ownership of the property is, I think, negated. Of course enforceability in ME becomes a problem when the issue is one as large and hungry as Smaug...

I agree with the poster who likened the red ink to a blood oath. It wasn't something I had thought of before, but I could see it as a very old tradition. The number of signatures I think is a necessity in a place with so many intertwined and entangled family trees. I could see very contentious problems erupting over wills when there are so many "second cousins once removed on his mother's side" tripping over each other. Yes, Telain made that excellent analogy, which harkens back to an 'antique' feel to Hobbit inheritance traditions. On your other point I agree, that's the feeling I got from the 7 signatures: a widely an complicatedly connected Hobbit community with - face it - NO privacy! Literally everyone in everyone else's business. Overall I feel like it's a portrayal of a both simple and very 'humanized' society, so maybe that's why I see idealization there, since I feel like the importance of individuality and humanization was a crucial part of JRRT's world view.

I too find it surprising that Grima was spared. In a militaristic society such as Rohan has always seemed to me, treason of this sort should have resulted in execution. However, I can only think of one execution (I'm fairly certain, but not 100%) in Tolkein's Middle Earth lore. I think it was perhaps important for Theoden, who was not long for the world in Tolkien's story, and would be painted as a fatherlike figure, to show mercy, just on a character sympathy basis. Is it also possible, that Tolkien, a devout Catholic, was uncomfortable with exercising the death penalty in a story that he knew was going to have wide distribution? Very interesting point here, with Théoden being granted the insight of mercy above the law - knowing he would be 'judged' soon himself. (Not sure on the Death Penalty views and how it relates - would have to research a bit.). But in any case giving Théoden that merciful judgment beyond their laws (I agree, in a military-ish society, on the brink of war) I think helps absolve some of what happens to him and to Rohan during his time under Saruman's influence as well; and if he sense his own end is near, feeling a need for compassion maybe, and to spare a life. Nice Elwen!

Just a few thoughts. Thanks! Good to see you! Angelic

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 31 2013, 10:01pm

Post #60 of 101 (523 views)
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Quick point on executions [In reply to] Can't Post

Great post, Elwen, and I hope to reply more fully later when I get the time.

I was trying to think of formal executions, and the only I could think of was Turgon executing Eol for killing Aredhel in Gondolin. A zillion deaths in battle, of course, and various murders, but it's hard to think of a government execution. Maybe others can think of examples, but they would still be few, so your point is well-made.


Elwen
Lorien


May 31 2013, 11:15pm

Post #61 of 101 (547 views)
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That was the one I thought of too.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Before kids, exercising with LOTR meant listening to the soundtrack while I ran.

After kids, exercising with LOTR means having an all out dance party with the little ones to the "Break the Dam Release the River" disco mix form the Lego game.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 1 2013, 6:37pm

Post #62 of 101 (528 views)
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Bilbo and the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that book-wise, Bilbo is not guilty of stealing from Gollum. But then even if he was, it's not as though the Ring is actually Gollum's. He murdered Deagol in order to take it from him. If Bilbo is guilty, then Deagol is equally guilty because in both cases the person simply found it lying about unclaimed.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 1 2013, 9:36pm

Post #63 of 101 (509 views)
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I guess Deagol has the least guilt... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I agree that book-wise, Bilbo is not guilty of stealing from Gollum. But then even if he was, it's not as though the Ring is actually Gollum's. He murdered Deagol in order to take it from him. If Bilbo is guilty, then Deagol is equally guilty because in both cases the person simply found it lying about unclaimed.




...then Bilbo - for the argument of needing to keep in for self-defense: Gollum of course, with murder on his soul for the Ring, is the guiltiest of all. It seems the simple, earthy society of the Riverfolk don't have a death penalty or even imprisonment - they cast Sméagol out. I think the crime of murder is rather beyond their experience.

(Good to see you Ardamire!) Cool

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 2 2013, 7:56am

Post #64 of 101 (478 views)
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I don't think that Sméagol's community knew he was a murderer... [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Quote
No one ever found out what became of Déagol; he was murdered far from home, and his body was cunningly hidden.


What leads to Sméagol's exile is that he keeps the Ring secret ...

Quote
And he used it to find out secrets, and he put his knowledge to crooked and malicious uses. It is not to be wondered at that he became very unpopular and was shunned (when visible) by all his relations. They kicked him, and he bit their feet. He took to thieving, and going about muttering to himself, and gurgling in his throat. So they called him Gollum, and cursed him and told him to go far away; and his grandmother, desiring peace, expelled him from the family…


So it's a nice little downward spiral of delinquency. I think I like the story better that way: there's something creepy about the mundaneness of it which we wouldn't get if it had been exile as a punishment for murder.

Presumably Sméagol must have made up some story to explain Déagols disappearance - I wonder what that was, and whether Sméagol's relations had their suspicions about this, and about Sméagol's new (or enhanced?) abilities as a malicious gossip.

Later we're told that Deagols murder is very much on Sméagol's conscience: but I don't think it's a known crime on the "charge sheet"until Gandalf figures it out for us.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Yngwulff
Gondor


Jun 2 2013, 8:02am

Post #65 of 101 (543 views)
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I think deagol was Smeagols brother [In reply to] Can't Post

Just on the similarity in the names ... cousins at the least.
If they were close as I suspect they were, many may have guessed Smeagols involvement in Deagols dissapearance(death), although no one could prove anyhting as the body was never found.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 2 2013, 4:58pm

Post #66 of 101 (469 views)
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You are probably quite right [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
No one ever found out what became of Déagol; he was murdered far from home, and his body was cunningly hidden.


What leads to Sméagol's exile is that he keeps the Ring secret ...

Quote
And he used it to find out secrets, and he put his knowledge to crooked and malicious uses. It is not to be wondered at that he became very unpopular and was shunned (when visible) by all his relations. They kicked him, and he bit their feet. He took to thieving, and going about muttering to himself, and gurgling in his throat. So they called him Gollum, and cursed him and told him to go far away; and his grandmother, desiring peace, expelled him from the family…


So it's a nice little downward spiral of delinquency. I think I like the story better that way: there's something creepy about the mundaneness of it which we wouldn't get if it had been exile as a punishment for murder.
Presumably Sméagol must have made up some story to explain Déagols disappearance - I wonder what that was, and whether Sméagol's relations had their suspicions about this, and about Sméagol's new (or enhanced?) abilities as a malicious gossip.
Later we're told that Deagols murder is very much on Sméagol's conscience: but I don't think it's a known crime on the "charge sheet"until Gandalf figures it out for us.




Great points all (so we have another character - Gandalf P.I. Cool) Glad you posted that bit of text; his habits are what drove him out. Somehow I thought I remember Deagol being discussed, but I must be mixing that part of Gandalf's tale in. I see as Yngwulff says above - wonder if there was suspicions, as Deagol never reappeared.
"Spiral of Delinquency: excellent phrase. The Ring at work, slowly twisting an already twisty will.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."

(This post was edited by Brethil on Jun 2 2013, 4:59pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 2 2013, 5:01pm

Post #67 of 101 (465 views)
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I think cousin too Yngwulff [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Just on the similarity in the names ... cousins at the least.
If they were close as I suspect they were, many may have guessed Smeagols involvement in Deagols dissapearance(death), although no one could prove anyhting as the body was never found.




I think I have read 'friend' and 'cousin'. Of course one can be both - I wonder too about the 'suspicion' part; I can only imagine how horrified his family would be with even contemplating it, as peaceful as their society is. But of course Deagol is never seen again...

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 2 2013, 6:06pm

Post #68 of 101 (470 views)
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"Spiral of Delinquency" = Indie band I was in during college [In reply to] Can't Post

Nah, I made that up. Smile

I did enjoy reading Gandalfs account of Sméagol's fall again though: there's a murder but then, Sméagol's gone back to type, and is using Middle-earths Most Evil Object to find Uncle Roger's horde of dirty postcards, sneaking Great Aunt Doris's sherry or trying to spy on pretty cousin Lulu in the bath. Stuff like that. He's such a pitiful villain, in many senses...

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 2 2013, 6:09pm

Post #69 of 101 (471 views)
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Good to see you too, Brethil! :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I just can't see Bilbo as guilty at all since the Ring isn't Gollum's anyway. He has no more claim to it than Bilbo does.

As for the penalty for murder, it's something that I'd never even thought about it. Now that I do, it does seem strange that Deagol's death was never investigated. As I recall, they only cast Smeagol out because he started slinking around and acting strange - not because it was known he had killed Deagol.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Yngwulff
Gondor


Jun 3 2013, 2:31am

Post #70 of 101 (454 views)
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Banishment [In reply to] Can't Post

In old times, of which JRRT was a lifelong student, banishment was a common sentence for crimes real or percieved.
Look at Eomer in TTT. More often than not banishment was a as good as a death sentence in reality, as people were held to be accountable if they offered a banished person food or shelter.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


sador
Half-elven


Jun 3 2013, 7:28am

Post #71 of 101 (688 views)
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An apology... [In reply to] Can't Post

At the moment, I am very pressed for time, and it turns out that the chapter I must lead next week is more complex than I thought at first. So I might not get around to responding to this thread until a fortnight hence.*

However, when Voronwe's essay was accepted, he has kindly sent me his last draft, to which I have responded with a long list of comments, most of which are probably relevant to this discussion (although it is likely some have been raised already). Should I post them here?



* Dear noWiz, if you are reading this - the same apology applies to you! I'm sure your discussion of Maeglin will be brilliant, but I am likely to return to it only together with your discussion of the Ruin of Beleriand.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 3 2013, 1:59pm

Post #72 of 101 (445 views)
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Good to hear from you Sador! [In reply to] Can't Post

And yes, time constraints are always an issue! No matter when you get around to other business,, I would love to read your thoughts - feel more than free to post them! Smile

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 3 2013, 2:30pm

Post #73 of 101 (441 views)
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Banishment [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't trying to say banishment wasn't a common sentence, but I don't remember Deagol's death being the reason for his banishing. As far as I remember (which could be incorrect), he was only banished because of his weird slinking about and golluming.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 3 2013, 2:41pm

Post #74 of 101 (439 views)
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I agree here about the reasons [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I wasn't trying to say banishment wasn't a common sentence, but I don't remember Deagol's death being the reason for his banishing. As far as I remember (which could be incorrect), he was only banished because of his weird slinking about and golluming.




As NoWiz evidenced above, I think that we was cast out because his golluming (good verb there!) I guess we can speculate on whether the Riverfolk had any suspicions - I think they may have, just as a feeling (one of those 'things you just assume')- but as JRRT wrote it presumably they felt Gollum's darkness in his mean, small ways.

A contrast still to other, more world-weary (? searching for a good word?) ME cultures we know of - say Rohan - where perhaps a suspicious disappearance would be investigated; and if the crime revealed, a definite penalty would have been exacted and I doubt in that case it would have been banishment.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 3 2013, 5:36pm

Post #75 of 101 (433 views)
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Yeah, I don't know. [In reply to] Can't Post

It just seems odd to me now that I think about it. Did no one care that Deagol never showed back up?

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel



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