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The Field of Cormallen #5: Long Live The Halflings!

a.s.
Valinor


Dec 5 2008, 2:21am

Post #1 of 12 (1547 views)
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The Field of Cormallen #5: Long Live The Halflings! Can't Post

Sam and Frodo are dressed in their old travel clothes, and brought out of their bower in the woods to meet this "King".

1) Do you find it believable that Sam apparently doesn't understand who "The King" is, yet?




Quote

So they came to a wide green land, and beyond it was a broad river in a silver haze, out of which rose a long wooded isle, and many ships lay by its shores. But on the field where they now stood a great host was drawn up, in ranks and companies glittering in the sun. And as the Hobbits approached swords were unsheathed, and spears were shaken, and horns and trumpets sang, and men cried with many voices and in many tongues:

Long live the Halflings! Praise them with great praise!
Cuio i Pheriain anann! Aglar'ni Pheriannath!
Praise them with great praise, Frodo and Samwise!
Daur a Berhael, Conin en Annūn! Eglerio!
Praise them!
Eglerio!
A laita te, laita te! Andave laituvalmet!
Praise them!
Cormacolindor, a laita tįrienna!
Praise them! The Ring-bearers, praise them with great praise




It strikes me how similar "a wide green land, and beyond it was a broad river in a silver haze" is, to the more famous "white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise".


Hammond & Scull in LOTR Companion cite Tolkien in Letter #230:



Line 2 [Cuio i Pheriain anann...] means: "May the Halflings live ong, glory to the Halflings"
Line 4 [Daur a Berhael...] means: "Frodo and Sam, princes of the west, glorify (them)"
Line 6 [Eglerio!] means: "Glorify (them)"
Line 7 [A laita te...] means: "Bless them, bless them, long will we praise them"
Line 9 [Cormacolindor...] means: "The Ring bearers, bless (or praise) them to the height"



And then cite Christopher Tolkien in HOME (in "Sauron Defeated") as noting:



"...that earlier forms of the praise differed considerably from that published, and included Old English as well as Sindarin and Quenya. The final form was typed onto the galley proof, replacing 'Long live the Halfling! Praise them with great praise! Cuio i Pheriannath anann! Aglar anann! Praise them with great praise! Wilcuman, wilcuman, Froda and Samwis! Praise them! Uton herian holbytlan! A laita te, laita te! Andave laituvalment! Praise them! The Ringberarers, praise them with great praise!'"


2) Comments on the phrases used above, in the chanted Praise to the Halflings? Did you understand the various languages used in Elvish? Which version do you like better (I rather wish he had kept in the "wilcuman")?



Quote

And so the red blood blushing in their faces and their eyes shining with wonder, Frodo and Sam went forward and saw that amidst the clamorous host were set three high-seats built of green turves. Behind the seat upon the right floated, white on green, a great horse running free; upon the left was a banner, silver upon blue, a ship swan-prowed faring on the sea; but behind the highest throne in the midst of all a great standard was spread in the breeze, and there a white tree flowered upon a sable field beneath a shining crown and seven glittering stars. On the throne sat a mail-clad man, a great sword was laid across his knees, but he wore no helm. As they drew near he rose. And then they knew him, changed as he was, so high and glad of face, kingly, lord of Men, dark-haired with eyes of grey.

Frodo ran to meet him, and Sam followed close behind. "Well, if that isn't the crown of all!" he said. "Strider, or I'm still asleep!"




3) Did Frodo also not know who "The King" was until this moment?



Quote

And then to Sam's surprise and utter confusion he bowed his knee before them; and taking them by the hand, Frodo upon his right and Sam upon his left, he led them to the throne, and setting them upon it, he turned to the men and captains who stood by and spoke, so that his voice rang over all the host, crying:
"Praise them with great praise!"




Hammond & Scull cite a letter from Tolkien to Milton Waldman (last discussion, NEB identified this as "From Tolkien's letter to Milton Waldman, in a section omitted from Letter #131 as published in Letters, now appearing in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion"):

"'The story reaches its end (as a tale of Hobbits!) in the celebration of victory in which all the Nine Companions are reunited. In the scene where all the hosts of the West unite to do honour and praise to the two humble Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, we reach the 'eucatastrophe' of the whole romance: that is the sudden joyous 'turn' and fulfilment of hope, the opposite of tragedy, that should be the hallmark of a 'fairy-story' of higher or lower tone, the resolution and justification of all that has gone before. It brought tears to my eyes to write it, and still moves me, and I cannot help believing that it is a supreme moment of its kind.


4. Do you feel this is the "eucatastrophic moment" of the whole LOTR? Do you find this the "sudden" joyous turn? I find my own heart feels the most joyous when Sam and Frodo are plucked up by the Eagles...




Quote

And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.




In our last discussion of this chapter, squire felt Tolkien's portrait of emotionality here "...doesn't come across. The metaphors are masochistic: "wounded", "swords", "pain". This is the language of religious ecstasy, the kind that can inspire self-flagellation and stigmata. It upsets me -- because I can't identify with it."


To which I answered that Tolkien's use of such symbolism is peculiarly Roman Catholic "...This is...Roman Catholicism to the core. The bloody hearts, the wounded side, the crown of thorns, the Passion and Death.This chapter is, in short, the Resurrection; not just a happy ending, but the joy of the happy ending when it seemed certain that none could occur. And the symbolism is true to something that resonates in many souls, but particularly in souls who learned to kiss the bloody feet on the Crucifix. Who learned to meditate on the Passion of Christ, and were ever offered the example of the suffering of Jesus as a model for humanity. It is not the fact of the wounding and the blood. It's the fact of the Resurrection. Things become connected. Things become painfully beautiful, and beautifully painful. "Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief"....[Although] beyond this, it doesn't require a Catholic upbringing (some might say indoctrination...) to be able to understand that sometimes extreme joy feels poignant"


5) What do you think about the "joy like swords" metaphors? Do you find this unsettling? Off putting? Or do you think Tolkien captured something unique about "joy poignant as grief" in this section?

a.s.


"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea


Dec 5 2008, 4:29am

Post #2 of 12 (1162 views)
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dense and sentimental [In reply to] Can't Post

1) Do you find it believable that Sam apparently doesn't understand who "The King" is, yet?

Yes, because I did not follow Aragorn's storyline myself for the first couple of readings and Strider's becoming king baffled eleven-year-old me. Sam is not completely dense, but he is not concerned with much that doesn't directly concern Frodo or himself and he doesn't have much experience with the wider world, even now. Remember that when he first saw the Misty Mountains he thought they were already near Mount Doom.

2) Comments on the phrases used above, in the chanted Praise to the Halflings? Did you understand the various languages used in Elvish? Which version do you like better (I rather wish he had kept in the "wilcuman")?

I guess I prefer the final published version. I've never gotten into the languages, but if I saw words that looked familiar, like "Froda and Samwis" or even "wilcuman" it would be distracting to me.

3) Did Frodo also not know who "The King" was until this moment?

He knew that it should be Aragorn, but may not have recognized him at first.

4. Do you feel this is the "eucatastrophic moment" of the whole LOTR? Do you find this the "sudden" joyous turn? I find my own heart feels the most joyous when Sam and Frodo are plucked up by the Eagles...

My eucatastrophic moment is when Sam wakes up and sees Gandalf and asks, "Is everything sad going to come untrue?" and bursts into tears.

5) What do you think about the "joy like swords" metaphors? Do you find this unsettling? Off putting? Or do you think Tolkien captured something unique about "joy poignant as grief" in this section?

"Joy like swords" works for me. Why else do people cry at weddings?

Where's Frodo?


batik
Tol Eressea


Dec 5 2008, 4:34am

Post #3 of 12 (1168 views)
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bittersweet... [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I do find it believable that Sam is still a bit dazed and confused, feeling more than thinking, not quite putting 2 and 2 together-yet.
He's all over the place emotionally and why not?

"Pheriannath"-that's what the folk in MT called Pippin, right? Otherwise-completely dependent upon the translation-which does add a little to this section which I found...bland...without the Elvish.

Frodo has always seemed a lttle more in the know with regards to *royalty* so maybe he knows or has a pretty good idea. Or maybe he woke up previously and he and Gandalf talked a bit, prior to this point in the story.

Frodo and Sam being *able* to be brought back certainly brings me more joy (come on-we've been with them on a long trip!) than their being recognized by...anyone. Would rather know someone survived than go to any ceremony/parade/thingWink. I can see that Tolkien may be referring to the bigger picture--what being able to have this ceremony means to the folk of Middle-earth. BUT, "Long Live the Halflings"-sad-not to be.

Sword pierces flesh/joy pierces soul? I think I get this. These warriors have been through the lowest of the lows--doubt, fear, loss, death--and now are moved (allowed?) to "feel" this and also feel life, joy, hope...adapt and overcome (who said that?)


sador
Half-elven

Dec 5 2008, 7:21am

Post #4 of 12 (1145 views)
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No time now, so just a short comment [In reply to] Can't Post

(I didn't even respond to no. 4Frown)

Frodo knows who Aragorn is' and what he is about. He (possibly unwisely) flaunted Aragorn's titles to Faramir (which probably was the way Denethor saw through Gandalf's schemes, and not the palantir), and evades him on Parth Galen in order not to distract him from his mission to go to Minas Tirith.
As a matter of fact, Sam was probably not instructed about Aragorn like Frodo was by Gandalf (in Many Meetings), and there is no indication Aragorn was revealed to him in the Argonath like he was to Frodo.


But it is telling that Sam, who is perfectly clueless until this moment, will berate Butterbur from making a similar mistake (with a better excuse) in three chapters' time!

"It is a long way, is it not, from Bree, where you did not like the look of me?" - Aragorn


Elros
Rivendell


Dec 5 2008, 2:41pm

Post #5 of 12 (1180 views)
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I'm confused [In reply to] Can't Post

Surprise, surprise! Laugh


In Reply To
Hammond & Scull cite a letter from Tolkien to Milton Waldman (last discussion, NEB identified this as "From Tolkien's letter to Milton Waldman, in a section omitted from Letter #131 as published in Letters, now appearing in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion"):

"'The story reaches its end (as a tale of Hobbits!) in the celebration of victory in which all the Nine Companions are reunited. In the scene where all the hosts of the West unite to do honour and praise to the two humble Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, we reach the 'eucatastrophe' of the whole romance: that is the sudden joyous 'turn' and fulfilment of hope, the opposite of tragedy, that should be the hallmark of a 'fairy-story' of higher or lower tone, the resolution and justification of all that has gone before. It brought tears to my eyes to write it, and still moves me, and I cannot help believing that it is a supreme moment of its kind.


I know Tolkien started and gave up on many different versions, but did he once have a version where Boromir didn't die at Amon Hen? Did he at one time consider having Boromir come back from the dead to reunite the Fellowship at this point in the story? That would be the mother of all eucatastrophes in LOTR. Or is this simply a slip by Tolkien in one of his letters?


Curious
Half-elven


Dec 5 2008, 3:34pm

Post #6 of 12 (1169 views)
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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

1) Do you find it believable that Sam apparently doesn't understand who "The King" is, yet?

Yes, Frodo made the same mistake about Aragorn back in Rivendell, Pippin made the same mistake shortly before meeting Denethor, and, as sador notes, Sam will berate Butterbur for making the same mistake when they return to Bree. It's an easy mistake to make for people who best know Aragorn as Strider. And of course Gandalf doesn't help matters by simply referring to "the King" and refusing to explain who that might be.

2) Comments on the phrases used above, in the chanted Praise to the Halflings? Did you understand the various languages used in Elvish? Which version do you like better (I rather wish he had kept in the "wilcuman")?

The Old English makes more sense in Rohan, and might be confusing in Gondor, although I could see it used as a concession to the many Rohirrim present. I did not understand the Elvish, although I assumed they loosely meant the same thing as the English portions. This cry reminds me of a psalm of praise, but it also reminds me a bit of the songs sung at victory parties when a favorite sports team wins a championship. Sports figures seem to get all the hero worship these days.

3) Did Frodo also not know who "The King" was until this moment?

Well, the narrator does say "and then they knew him," implying that perhaps Frodo did not know who the King was before that moment. On the other hand, Frodo did not profess ignorance earlier, and does not profess surprise now. And Frodo had already been upbraided in Rivendell for not realizing who "the Dunedain" might be. Then he had tread carefully when speaking with Faramir about one who might claim the throne of Gondor. So I think Frodo guessed, but might not have been sure until he saw for himself -- since Gandalf was not giving away the surprise.

4. Do you feel this is the "eucatastrophic moment" of the whole LOTR? Do you find this the "sudden" joyous turn? I find my own heart feels the most joyous when Sam and Frodo are plucked up by the Eagles...

The "turn" happened earlier, but this is still a great moment, and part of the whole fairy-tale ending, which started when the Eagles came to the rescue and continues right up through Aragorn's marriage to Arwen. I'm not sure I can say when my heart feels the most joyous.

5) What do you think about the "joy like swords" metaphors? Do you find this unsettling? Off putting? Or do you think Tolkien captured something unique about "joy poignant as grief" in this section?

I've always loved it, and Tolkien apparently loved it since he used it earlier in the essay "On Fairy-stories." I agree that it has a religious overtone, but I don't think readers have to be Catholic to appreciate it. We all have shed tears of joy, I hope, at one moment or another, and felt so happy that we have trouble breathing, feel our heart beating hard and fast, and might even feel a kind of ecstatic pain, like a golden sword through our heart. The most common example might be falling in love -- there's a reason the Greeks and Romans depicted the feeling as an arrow to the heart.


(This post was edited by Curious on Dec 5 2008, 3:35pm)


Aunt Dora Baggins
Immortal


Dec 5 2008, 5:49pm

Post #7 of 12 (1182 views)
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Interesting! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm guessing it was just a slip, but I don't know.

Kind of reminds me of how the Apostles were still called The Twelve even after Judas died... (I know, there was a new one appointed, but even before that I think it happened.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Dreamdeer
Valinor


Dec 5 2008, 6:50pm

Post #8 of 12 (1156 views)
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My thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

1) Do you find it believable that Sam apparently doesn't understand who "The King" is, yet?
Yes. He's seeing from a long ways away at first, where the eye can't make out individual features, and relies heavily instead upon clues such as habitual garb and posture, all of which has skewed away from Sam's experience and memory.

2) Comments on the phrases used above, in the chanted Praise to the Halflings? Did you understand the various languages used in Elvish? Which version do you like better (I rather wish he had kept in the "wilcuman")?

No, I didn't understand it, I just took it on trust that they were saying complimentary things. I'm not sure which version I like better, so I'll go with what the writer settled on.
3) Did Frodo also not know who "The King" was until this moment?

Yes. See above. Note that when they recognized him they ran to him. That implies sufficient distance to allow running.
4. Do you feel this is the "eucatastrophic moment" of the whole LOTR? Do you find this the "sudden" joyous turn? I find my own heart feels the most joyous when Sam and Frodo are plucked up by the Eagles...

I do feel it as the most eucatastrophic moment, because I most identify with Sam, and the story tells this from his viewpoint.

5) What do you think about the "joy like swords" metaphors? Do you find this unsettling? Off putting? Or do you think Tolkien captured something unique about "joy poignant as grief" in this section?

I understood those metaphors long before I took Catholic instruction. I guess it's an individual thing--either you have felt it or you haven't. When you've been through a lot of dreadfulness, a sudden reversal into joy hurts like life coming back into a frostbitten foot. You're not acclimatized to it--it's overwhelming. But you want to and need to be overwhelmed by joy. Mind you, I didn't understand the dynamics at all as a child. I remember, on one glad occasion, turning to my grandmother in bewilderment and asking, "Why am I crying?" But years later I read somewhere that crying for joy happens when an extreme happiness follows swiftly on the heels of prolonged suffering--that's what psychologists say, not just me. Which is exactly what Sam goes through, here. And it's exactly what the whole war-weary assembly goes through with him. Tolkien accurately writes, therefore, how it would have happened. He'd been there. He understood.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


a.s.
Valinor


Dec 5 2008, 10:09pm

Post #9 of 12 (1161 views)
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I don't mean no one else understands that kind of metaphor [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant simply this: These metaphors are very common to Roman Catholicism.

Period.

So that an author who is used to using such metaphors will automatically (and probably subconsiously) turn to using them, when describing intense emotion.

Nevertheless, I would say that certain depictions and descriptions of certain aspects of Roman Catholic fundamentals are very specific and mix terrible suffering with religious ectasy and great joy--and they can be recognized as Roman Catholic-influence when used by a traditionally-raised Roman Catholic. One only has to see one holy card picture of St. Sebastian, martyr, pierced with arrows, or St. Anastasia, "burned alive", to know how Catholic schoolchildren were once taught about the wonder of suffering and dying for God. The Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Stations of the Cross. The Crucifix, rather than the empty cross. St. Margaret Mary with her self-chastisements.

I could go on.

Someone made the argument last time, though, that so much of our Western history and literature and art is bound up in these kinds of images (especially pre-Reformation) that it is certainly not exclusively influencing only traditionally-raised Roman Catholics, by any means. And I don't want to overstate my thesis!

However, I stand by my assertion that when Tolkien uses these images of "joy like swords", he is using Roman Catholic imagery for a kind of experience of the supernatural that only occurs in combination with suffering.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


a.s.
Valinor


Dec 5 2008, 10:14pm

Post #10 of 12 (1183 views)
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I don't think readers have to be Catholic, either [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I agree that it has a religious overtone, but I don't think readers have to be Catholic to appreciate it.




I answered from the bottom up! So see my answer to Darkstone.

But I don't want to give the impression that I think these metaphors have a "religious undertone" if by that you mean a religious purpose in the story. I don't think that.

I only mean to say that when Tolkien uses these metaphors, he is reaching for quintessentially Roman Catholic metaphors to express a particular emotion. They clearly show his Roman Catholic influences, just as much as certain aspects of his story show his WWI influences, or show his Anglo-Saxon poetry influences.

a.s.


"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Dec 6 2008, 5:07pm

Post #11 of 12 (1174 views)
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I don't dispute you [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think that Tolkien tapped in on everything essential to who he had become through many influences, and Catholicism ranks up there as probably the most influential circumstance of all. I merely add that the same perspective can come of sudden joy after prolonged suffering (which in fact is the very essence of eucatastrophe) and that this might be why so many people become devoted to the Catholicism in the first place--because they relate to its teachings on a primary level, and a religion that acknowledges this aspect of human experience appeals to them.

This matters, because it also gives a clue as to why so many non-Catholics, not raised with images of crucifixes, handsome near-nudes peppered with arrows, and beautiful women bleeding from stigmata can still relate to Tolkien.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Elros
Rivendell


Dec 7 2008, 1:20pm

Post #12 of 12 (1151 views)
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You're probably right, Aunt Dora [In reply to] Can't Post

It probably was a slip. If Tolkien had indeed considered a plot with Boromir around at the end, I'm sure somebody on here would have read about it and replied. Since it was a slip, are there many cases like this one where Tolkien makes small, little errors in his letters? Tolkien's letters are still near the bottom of my reading list, but it would be interesting to know ahead of time to keep on my toes and not take everything in his correspondence as gospel.

 
 

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