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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Whither the Reading Room?
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Elizabeth
Valinor


May 1 2011, 2:28am

Post #1 of 26 (726 views)
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Whither the Reading Room? Can't Post

Only a few chapters remain in our discussion of Book IV of LotR, but they are some great ones!

But we must begin to think of what's next. I am happy to prepare a signup schedule for Book V (my favorite!) in a few days, to begin June 5. But action has been a bit slow here the last few weeks, and some of the general discussion threads have drawn more attention than the chapter discussions, even though our discussion leaders have done a great job! And I must note that all the discussions have been read many times, even though sometimes there weren't many responses.

So, please respond here by letting us know what you would like to do:
* forge ahead with Book V
* take a break from LotR chapter discussions (and resume later, or not)
* organize discussions on a different topic (you must specify!)

Looking ahead, if we continue straight ahead with LotR, we'll finish the Appendices in late Oct - Nov. (depending on whether we do them all). I'm guessing that in 2012 we'll want to do The Hobbit, in preparation for the movie opening in December, right? There are 19 chapters in The Hobbit, and about 48 weeks in 2012 (assuming we start the 2nd week in Jan.) before the movie opens. That's time to do one other modest Tolkien work, or perhaps several of the shorter ones (e.g. Leaf by Niggle, Farmer Giles of Ham, etc.). Think about it!






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on May 1 2011, 2:31am)


macfalk
Valinor


May 1 2011, 8:57pm

Post #2 of 26 (216 views)
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How about some The Hobbit book discussions in the future? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


KAOS82
Rohan


May 1 2011, 9:22pm

Post #3 of 26 (211 views)
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Yes but... [In reply to] Can't Post

...in The Hobbit 3d Cool of course! Tongue

TÚRIN TURAMBAR DAGNIR GLAURUNGA & NIENOR NÍNIEL


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 1 2011, 10:20pm

Post #4 of 26 (251 views)
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The question is, when? [In reply to] Can't Post

As I said in my first post in this thread, it seems to me that it would be best to schedule The Hobbit discussion shortly before the movie opening. Seems a bit early now. When would you like to have it?






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


taekotemple
Grey Havens


May 2 2011, 4:24am

Post #5 of 26 (224 views)
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Well, there are the discussions of The Hobbit going on in Barliman's chat now... [In reply to] Can't Post

Those discussions are going really well. Maybe after the chat discussions end, it could be cool to do a board discussion, so they don't overlap?


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 2 2011, 7:34am

Post #6 of 26 (307 views)
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The real question is, [In reply to] Can't Post

what do you want to do in four weeks? More LotR, or something else?






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


CuriousG
Valinor


May 3 2011, 4:12pm

Post #7 of 26 (188 views)
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Maybe a break? [In reply to] Can't Post

I too have noticed general postings receive more responses than chapter posts do. Maybe we should take a break from the chapters for now and see if interest rekindles in the future?

I might suggest that we keep the chapter discussions much shorter to encourage responses (I know mine are long), but I've noticed the short ones don't generate much response either except from us usual suspects, so it doesn't seem shorter is the answer either.


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 3 2011, 6:31pm

Post #8 of 26 (162 views)
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The "usual suspects" [In reply to] Can't Post

This is at least the fifth, maybe the sixth, LotR chapter discussion I've been involved with (the first I've helped organize). All of them have been characterized by a relatively small group of regular participants, plus occasional visitor/participants, and lots of lurkers. But the "usual suspects" differ from one read-through to another.

Visible participants typically include a range of Tolkien-knowledge, from folks who have only read LotR to those familiar with Tolkien's entire oeuvre. The wonderful thing is that we all learn from each other: newbies find out about the depth of ME lore lying behind LotR, and the "experts" are often challenged and intrigued by new thoughts, questions, and insights.






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


CuriousG
Valinor


May 3 2011, 6:49pm

Post #9 of 26 (158 views)
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Topical series? [In reply to] Can't Post

Has the RR ever tried a topical series instead of a chronological series? (I'm not advocating abandoning chapters, just another idea.) Such as:

Week 1: What do you think of Frodo? Or, how does he change? Or, whatever about Frodo, just discuss him.
Week 2: Aragorn: how did he compare as a leader to Gandalf, or how did he compare to Boromir, the only two Men in the Fellowship? Or...
Week 3: Saruman: would he has seemed as evil if he wanted conquest but didn't burn down trees? Are lore-seekers of his kind more susceptible to falling into evil ways than nature-lovers like Radaghast?

There are lots of characters. That discussion could last a long time, and every person has at least one favorite. These are just off the top of my mind, nothing concrete.

Or:
Week 1: Women's status in LoTR
Week 2: "Freedom" in Middle-earth without voting vs. subjugation by Sauron (also without voting)

These are random examples too, not suggestions. Maybe people first submit ideas for a list? This could make it a little more structured, and people could think ahead to coming topics.

Just ideas. I don't think the RR is in need of radical change. A little structure over periods of time, while still allowing anything outside the structure, of course, might drum up more usual suspects if they knew there was a regular reason to visit and that postings weren't all random.


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 3 2011, 7:07pm

Post #10 of 26 (265 views)
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"Thematic discussions" [In reply to] Can't Post

In late 2006 and early 2007, we had a series of thematic discussions. You can see some in this list of links (we finished Unfinished Tales, so to speak, and launched into the thematic discussions), and more here. People were invited to pick a topic and prepare a week of discussions on it. It was fun. I did a week on "horses".

Would you rather do that now instead of finishing LotR?






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


batik
Tol Eressea


May 5 2011, 12:58am

Post #11 of 26 (183 views)
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seems to wax and wane? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think we are now just a chapter or so past "when" I stepped into the Reading Room nearly 3 years ago. The number of replies is certainly less now than then but I still get the sense that folks *are* interested-- so *bravo* to those who keep the fires burning. Me--I am shamefully behind on the reading and am leaning towards the take-a-short-break option. I have done lots more following than participating lately. Frown


squire
Valinor


May 5 2011, 3:15am

Post #12 of 26 (173 views)
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Let's push on, no? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm guessing we do have the volunteers and the interest to continue this LotR discussion to the end of Book VI. I may be wrong, but we've made it this far, so let's see how it goes. As far as I remember, this entire discussion is a kind of "honor the hero" tribute to Curious's one-man trek through Book I. Surely we can finish it.

After that, I'm out of ideas. The chapter-discussion core of the Reading Room may have to give way - for a while? for good? - to general discussion and independent posts according to interest and curiosity. One thing I do notice about the current posts: some of the longtime RR "regulars" may be away for now, but there is a small but loyal core of new readers in the squishy chairs who seem to be enjoying this place and its traditions.

If there is interest in a new discussion series to fill the gap between now and the best time to discuss The Hobbit, I vote for The History of Middle-earth IV: The Shaping of Middle-earth. I've always wanted to see if it Reading Room could defang its reputation as the most boring Tolkien tome ever.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


sador
Half-elven


May 5 2011, 7:25am

Post #13 of 26 (131 views)
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Personally, I prefer moving on. [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand and share the frustration of the slow discussions (in my case combined with the personal frustration of being unable to participate more), but I would very much like to carry on with them.

We probably won't ever replicate the success of the second discussion; that one was just after the movies came out, which both re-ignited interest in the books and loomed in the background (whether purist or pro-Jackson, everyone had a point to make), and it was also at the time when most people began joining internet forums as the new way of communication (with the exception of Your Truly, who was as ever behind the times). Today some of our most valuable members spend more time on Facebook than here. Frown

We do have plenty of new members; but it takes them time to trickle to the Reading Room, and most of them are anyway so excited by The Hobbit that the longer book is (at least temporarily) in the shade. But I really agree that we should discuss The Hobbit later, just before the projected movies come out.

Some have mentioned already the lack of some notable members, which might be just a matter of coincidence. But I want to point out that in the fourth discussion (which I think was on the whole successful), the four most vociferous participants were not necessarily those who responded to the opening posts, but those who replied to other members. This was sometimes seen as a problem - as too critical of other members - but it did make the discussion! For instance, in the most popular thread so far, only six responses were made to the actual opening post!

Now these four are not posting as before - NEB and Dreamdeer might have become "burnt out", and both Curious and FarFromHome are on an hiatus (as they were before), but I hope they will be back!
But still perhaps rather than returning to the old threads that I've missed (which I still intend to do some day) I might try and respond more to posts ny other members. Will that help?

But regarding your question, to quote a possibly-forgotten politician "I'm not a quitter" (the said politician went on to receive a thorough beating in the second ballot). I would like to see this discussion through, and definitely enjoy the discussions so far and the insights they've provided.
And once I hit my stride again, I'll be upset that there aren't more of them.

"Would this Chapter have been as effective if it took place in the Forbidden Forest, or the Forbidden Cave, or the Forbidden Tower, or some other type of forbidden place?"
- weaver.


The weekly discussion of The Lord of the Rings is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Forbidden Pool!



Elizabeth
Valinor


May 5 2011, 7:37am

Post #14 of 26 (136 views)
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All contributions are helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Comments on primary responses can be every bit as interesting as primary responses themselves. The discussion leader's main objective is really to start a discussion in which there's an opportunity for new insights into the text being discussed. Whether that comes as a primary response or picks up on what somewone else says is immaterial!

People should dive in at whatever point interests them!






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Darkstone
Immortal


May 5 2011, 1:55pm

Post #15 of 26 (153 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm trying to post in every discussion even if I don't have anything to say. As you can tell.

I'm willing to lead another week or two of LOTR chapter discussions unless there is significant demand against me doing another one.

Also, I've worked up a week's worth of discussion of Tolkien's poem "The Lonely Island" that I've kept putting off posting for the past few months. I could pop that in some week if needed. I dunno if it would generate much discussion, though.

******************************************
From IMDB trivia:

"A scene was cut from the finished film that showed Eowyn (Miranda Otto) stripping away her regular clothes and then dressing herself in the armor of a Rohan warrior."

*Darkstone bangs head against wall*


(This post was edited by Darkstone on May 5 2011, 1:56pm)


GAndyalf
Valinor

May 5 2011, 4:09pm

Post #16 of 26 (134 views)
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Where can one find Lonely Island? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm certain I must have it somewhere, but don't remember it offhand?

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009

sample


Darkstone
Immortal


May 5 2011, 4:24pm

Post #17 of 26 (123 views)
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Oops! [In reply to] Can't Post

One of my moments of senectitude. The title is actually The Lonely Isle. It can be found in Tolkien and the Great War.

******************************************
From IMDB trivia:

"A scene was cut from the finished film that showed Eowyn (Miranda Otto) stripping away her regular clothes and then dressing herself in the armor of a Rohan warrior."

*Darkstone bangs head against wall*


acheron
Gondor


May 5 2011, 4:40pm

Post #18 of 26 (140 views)
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The Lonely Island? [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo and Bilbo sing "I'm on a boat" as they sail to the Undying Lands...

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Darkstone
Immortal


May 5 2011, 5:19pm

Post #19 of 26 (155 views)
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With T-Pain. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, that song is probably why I made the mistake. At least it's a good excuse as opposed to outright senility.

******************************************
From IMDB trivia:

"A scene was cut from the finished film that showed Eowyn (Miranda Otto) stripping away her regular clothes and then dressing herself in the armor of a Rohan warrior."

*Darkstone bangs head against wall*


(This post was edited by Darkstone on May 5 2011, 5:20pm)


GAndyalf
Valinor

May 5 2011, 6:26pm

Post #20 of 26 (161 views)
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Domo arigato... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll dig it up and refresh my memory. Could be my last chance before AARP at the end of th' month! LaughCrazy

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009

sample


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

May 5 2011, 11:29pm

Post #21 of 26 (125 views)
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I would actually delurk for that discussion [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If there is interest in a new discussion series to fill the gap between now and the best time to discuss The Hobbit, I vote for The History of Middle-earth IV: The Shaping of Middle-earth. I've always wanted to see if it Reading Room could defang its reputation as the most boring Tolkien tome ever.



'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


acheron
Gondor


May 6 2011, 12:34am

Post #22 of 26 (224 views)
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I'd give that a try [In reply to] Can't Post

I've tried to read HOME IV and not gotten very far, so a RR discussion might be just what I need to actually plow through it. Wink

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Curious
Half-elven


May 6 2011, 9:08pm

Post #23 of 26 (101 views)
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I've been following the Bulls. [In reply to] Can't Post

After many years in the desert, I finally have a good team for which to root, and lots of good basketball discussions on the internet.

I've also discovered numerous other fantasies which I am reading on my Kindle.

Sorry! It's not as if I am doing anything "productive" with my spare time. I'm just unproductive in a different direction.

I won't vote about what to do next because I can't guarantee I'll be part of it. I will say that I hope to take part the next time we discuss The Hobbit, so, if I'm not around, please let me know about it.

Oh, and if you do plan to persevere with LotR, I can take another chapter.


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 6 2011, 9:18pm

Post #24 of 26 (110 views)
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I plan to post a Book V signup next week. [In reply to] Can't Post

If we can get enough chapter leaders, we'll forge ahead. I look forward to having you join us, if only for a chapter!






Join us in the Reading Room for LotR The Two Towers, Book IV!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Gwytha
Rohan


May 9 2011, 1:32am

Post #25 of 26 (83 views)
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I love this place [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope people decide to forge ahead. I lurk more than I post, but I really enjoy the humor, intelligence and creative thought on display here. I'm usually too awed to respond to the chapter discussions except once in awhile when I think I know something. I would post more, but it would just be repetitions of "LMAO" and "Wow, that's brilliant!"

We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!

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