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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Hobbit chapter 3: "A Short Rest" discussion pt.1
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Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea


Jul 26 2012, 3:44am

Post #1 of 27 (1009 views)
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The Hobbit chapter 3: "A Short Rest" discussion pt.1 Can't Post

Whoops! My "short rest" turned into a long nap. Sorry about the delay, everyone.Blush

One morning they forded a river at a wide shallow place full of the noise of stones and foam. The far bank was steep and slippery. When they got to the top of it, leading their ponies, they saw that the great mountains had marched down very near to them.

1. LotR-first people, did you recognize this as the Ford of Bruinen?

"Is that The Mountain?" asked Bilbo in a solemn voice, looking at it with round eyes.

2. Who does that remind you of in LotR? Is the similarity intentional on Tolkien's part?

Now Gandalf led the way. "We must not miss the road, or we shall be done for," he said....The only path was marked with white stones, some of which were small, and others were half covered with moss or heather. Altogether it was a very slow business following the track, even guided by Gandalf, who seemed to know his way about pretty well.

3. Is it troubling to you that Gandalf has so much difficulty finding the way to Rivendell?

"Here it is at last!" he called, and the others gathered round him and looked over the edge. They saw a valley far below. They could hear the voice of hurrying water in a rocky bed at the bottom; the scent of trees was in the air; and there was a light on the valley-side across the water.

4. I have read that the scenery in Tolkien's walking tour of Switzerland as a young man may have inspired Rivendell. Here is an old photo of Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. Please comment or post your own favorite photo or painting of Rivendell or a Rivendell-like place.


Where's Frodo?


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 3:55am

Post #2 of 27 (438 views)
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"the smell of the pine-trees made him drowsy" [In reply to] Can't Post



Rivendell by Ted Nasmith, source: http://lotrtolkien.tumblr.com/...ed-nasmith-rivendell


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 11:00am

Post #3 of 27 (385 views)
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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
2. Who does that remind you of in LotR? Is the similarity intentional on Tolkien's part?


I'm guessing Sam, although I don't remember a specific example. Second choice would be Pippin. Frodo and Merry are more knowing, if not any more experienced. Actually, even Sam at least has the benefit of Bilbo's stories, although it appears that Bilbo listened to a few stories himself when he was younger. But Sam and Pippin are still capable of displaying their ignorance. I don't believe they spent any time studying the maps in Rivendell, for example, or studying what Bilbo wrote.


Quote
3. Is it troubling to you that Gandalf has so much difficulty finding the way to Rivendell?


This is the elvish defense system. There is more to it than hiding in a valley. Based on the map from LotR, it looks like it would be hard to miss Rivendell after crossing the Ford, but elvish enchantment may be at work, or possibly more mundane tricks that would help strangers, or even invading armies, get lost.


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 26 2012, 2:11pm

Post #4 of 27 (383 views)
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I can't stay away from these discussions. [In reply to] Can't Post

2. Frodo, just because of the overawedness. In this moment, Bilbo seems daunted by his task (even though he's got the wrong mountain) and Frodo often has moments like that. I'm not sure if the similarity is intentional, but if I'm seeing the right parallel, I wouldn't be surprised - two small individuals facing tasks that seem much too big for them. Bilbo almost foreshadows Frodo a little.

3. I did find that confusing, but I like Curious's explanation about Elvish glamour.

4. I always like Tolkien's own drawings best, so I shall be boring and post one of his:




sador
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 3:23pm

Post #5 of 27 (328 views)
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Don't! [In reply to] Can't Post

Keep around, and thank you for your contributions - Tolkien's drawing is awesome, and is lovely seeing! Where is it from? I notice the river is shallow after the rapids - perhaps this is what gave him the idea of Elrond flooding the Nine Riders? But the ford is further upstream, and the cliffs to the wider bedrock look sheer and forbidding.

And good luck in your Silmarillion reading!

"As they approach the house of Elrond, Gandalf more or less tells the elves to be quiet, saying that “valleys have ears.”
What does he mean by this? Does he actually suspect spies here or something? Or does he just want those silly elves to shut up?"
- Menelwyn.



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for A Short Rest!


sador
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 3:30pm

Post #6 of 27 (322 views)
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Short answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry; but I'm really pressed for time; I might not answer your further posts until Monday.

1. LotR-first people, did you recognize this as the Ford of Bruinen?
Hardly. Only after really looking for it.

2. Who does that remind you of in LotR? Is the similarity intentional on Tolkien's part?
Sam's first view of Caradhras, when he thought it might be Mount Doom.

Yes, it is intentional; I have once written in length of how Sam's experience is the real continuation of Bilbo's.


3. Is it troubling to you that Gandalf has so much difficulty finding the way to Rivendell?
Hobbit-Gandalf not at all; LotR and Silmarillion's Olorin the wise Maia - yes, it does seem strange.

4. I have read that the scenery in Tolkien's walking tour of Switzerland as a young man may have inspired Rivendell. Here is an old photo of Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. Please comment or post your own favorite photo or painting of Rivendell or a Rivendell-like place.

That's beautiful. Thank you!

"As they approach the house of Elrond, Gandalf more or less tells the elves to be quiet, saying that “valleys have ears.”
What does he mean by this? Does he actually suspect spies here or something? Or does he just want those silly elves to shut up?"
- Menelwyn.



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for A Short Rest!


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 26 2012, 3:53pm

Post #7 of 27 (331 views)
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time flies when you are having fun [In reply to] Can't Post

1. LotR-first people, did you recognize this as the Ford of Bruinen?

Nope.

2. Who does that remind you of in LotR? Is the similarity intentional on Tolkien's part?

It reminds me of Pippin. Bilbo does have a bit of the tookish side in him after all.

3. Is it troubling to you that Gandalf has so much difficulty finding the way to Rivendell?

It reminds me of the moment where Gandalf couldn't remember the secret for enduring Moria.
It seems less troubling to find the way for those who live in Rivendell (or at least for Glorfindel and Aragorn - it's just my assumption that their residence (at least partial) in Rivendell accounts for it - but there could be other reasons). I'm not sure how much Gandalf's visit to Rivendell here is expected by the elves or not and wonder what difference the presence of so many dwarves could have.
It's interesting to think that Gimli made it to Rivendell for the Council of Elrond somehow or other later on. There is much to wonder at in this passage!

4. I have read that the scenery in Tolkien's walking tour of Switzerland as a young man may have inspired Rivendell. Here is an old photo of Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. Please comment or post your own favorite photo or painting of Rivendell or a Rivendell-like place.

I caught myself sub-consciously comparing the story map to a map of Europe with the Shire falling in England. I think this is why I thought of places like Norway but I am not that familiar with Europe so I wouldn't trust that intuition very much and find it very interesting to hear what people from Europe have to say about it.
In the end, I would reason with myself that no place on the real earth is actually Rivendell after all Tongue.


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 26 2012, 3:55pm

Post #8 of 27 (307 views)
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Sam, who's master was Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

may have been a good scribe or historian in addition to his skill with gardening and cooking and things


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 3:57pm

Post #9 of 27 (291 views)
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It's from Tolkien's illustrations for The Hobbit.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 3:58pm

Post #10 of 27 (338 views)
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I usually like Tolkien's illustrations best, but in this rare case Naismith [In reply to] Can't Post

took Tolkien's illustration and made it better.


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 4:07pm

Post #11 of 27 (303 views)
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Ah, that's it. [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought it was Sam who mistook one mountain for another, but I couldn't recall the scene. I wouldn't say that Sam's experience was a continuation of Bilbo's. I would say, rather, that Sam's ignorance of the outside world in LotR was similar to Bilbo's in The Hobbit. But I would guess that Pippin was just as ignorant.



Escapist
Gondor

Jul 26 2012, 4:12pm

Post #12 of 27 (285 views)
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I meant Gandalf "entering Moria" - not "enduring Moria" [In reply to] Can't Post

although I wonder what kind of psychological trick I was trying to play with myself there ...


squire
Valinor


Jul 26 2012, 5:15pm

Post #13 of 27 (319 views)
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Can't say I agree, although his technical facility is excellent as usual [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that Tolkien's Rivendell is one of the worst of his Hobbit illustrations. It lacks contrast and light even within the constraints of his style and talent. However, I still prefer it in all of its colorfully chaotic quiltiness to Nasmith's over-academicized effort.

No Tolkien illustrator surpasses Nasmith's facility with landscape and skyscape, rendered "realistically". But here his compositional gift has left him - I suspect because, as you say, he set himself the goal of "improving" on Tolkien's painting instead of rethinking it. Observing the rules of scale, he minimizes Tolkien's visible, quirky, and attractively off-center Last Homely House to the point of invisibility, and the eye is drawn instead to an anonymous cliff that happens to reside at the center of the painting. A similar criticism applies to the mountain in the distance. Instead of a hidden, almost unnoticed peak lurking at the top of the frame in the original painting, suggesting the hobbit's ultimate goal of the Lonely Mountain, we see in the imitation an obvious, conventional and, frankly, boring rendering of a well-proportioned alpine range.

Finally, consider the overall "big picture" effect of the two. Truer to the fantastic text than to realistic Nature, Tolkien's valley feels compressed, vertical, hidden. It is even camouflaged, in a way, by his graphically flattened and dense fields of watercolor. Nasmith's photorealistic valley, while as picturesque as any scenic postcard, feels wide open and exposed to view and empty of magic, or even drama and suspense.





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.


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 26 2012, 5:24pm

Post #14 of 27 (300 views)
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I'll leave the fine details of the art discussion to those... [In reply to] Can't Post

...of you who are more knowledgeable in such matters and just say that I think Naismith's rendering is gorgeous and Tolkien's drawing is charming (plus, I have an emotional attachment to his stylized drawings in general, though some are admittedly much better than others).

And thank you for answering the question about the source of the drawing! I was busy offline for a bit.


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 26 2012, 5:29pm

Post #15 of 27 (290 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

For the welcome and the encouragement with my reading both. :)

The question about the drawing's source has been answered, but I like your idea about Tolkien's observations of rivers giving him the idea for the flooding of the Riders in LotR. The shapes one can see in rapids or waterfalls are amazing and I can definitely see them as inspiration for the water-horses.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 5:45pm

Post #16 of 27 (285 views)
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It makes sense either way [In reply to] Can't Post

though enduring is more poetic.

enduring > waiting > abiding > resting in > entering


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 6:13pm

Post #17 of 27 (282 views)
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You make some great points. [In reply to] Can't Post

I still wish Tolkien's imagination could be combined with Naismith's technical expertise, but perhaps that's too much to ask for. I'm convinced, though. Tolkien's drawing, as flawed as it may be, is more true to the text in crucial ways. Perhaps I like Naismith's version because, in my mind, I somehow combined it with what I remembered of Tolkien's.


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 26 2012, 6:18pm

Post #18 of 27 (297 views)
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Oh yes, Sam! [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a much better answer than Frodo. I feel foolish now.

I'd be very interested in reading your essay on Sam's journey being a continuation of Bilbo's if it's online anywhere.


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 26 2012, 10:40pm

Post #19 of 27 (279 views)
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I find it hard to compare Nasmith and Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

since the style they are each using is so clearly different. I find it even harder to discern the intent of Nasmith based on his work alone. Was he trying to "improve" or was he trying to "adapt" it to a different style (realistic)?

If I were an artist attempting to represent an image written by an author, I would definitely treat any artwork of the author depicting the same image with the same seriousness as the text itself. But maybe there is some nuance about the importance of choosing a new perspective so as not to compete too much with the existing work that should be payed attention to for social reasons (even if it isn't obvious for technical reasons). In that case, unless I was literally trying to adapt the author's work to a new style as my purpose, I would go for an unrecognizable perspective so as not to confuse my work with their's (and to avoid any social/moral/legal landmines Unsure I've come to expect these landmines to be prevalent without necessarily knowing where that might be and the best way of avoiding them is to steer clear)

As far as missing magic - well - magic isn't always obvious and dramatic.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jul 26 2012, 11:30pm

Post #20 of 27 (285 views)
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And it's not as if the painting lacks drama [In reply to] Can't Post

it is subtle, but the lighting is rather more romantic than in the original (which obviously didn't rely on such things being done after a different style of landscape painting). But until Squire pointed it out, I hadn't realized how closely Nasmith's Rivendell resembled Tolkien's. I just had a sense that he got it more right than others for some reason.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jul 26 2012, 11:31pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 27 2012, 2:46am

Post #21 of 27 (259 views)
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It may not be too surprising [In reply to] Can't Post

that Gimli, or Boromir, or others at the Council, were able to find their way to Rivendell, if it is indeed as Curious suggests that there was some kind of "elvish enchantment" at work: it may be that they were "meant" to find Rivendell, and so were "guided" there!

Gandalf's difficulty here in finding the correct path may simply reflect a bit of reluctance on the part of the Elves to have to host thirteen smelly Dwarves for a fortnight or so...Angelic


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 27 2012, 2:52am

Post #22 of 27 (358 views)
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Rivendell and Lauterbrunnen: an old link of EoPW's [In reply to] Can't Post

I've found Eowyn of Penns Woods' side-by-side comparison of Tolkien's painting and a photograph of that region of Switzerland to be quite fascinating:

http://newboards.theonering.net/...ent;postatt_id=2255;


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




Curious
Half-elven


Jul 27 2012, 5:46am

Post #23 of 27 (261 views)
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Boromir had some trouble finding Rivendell. [In reply to] Can't Post

I would imagine Faramir would have had an easier time of it.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 27 2012, 10:56am

Post #24 of 27 (255 views)
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Considering which of those two [In reply to] Can't Post

was given the lion's share of the dreams, it would seem that Boromir was "meant" to be only Faramir's backup, so it might be that the path would have reluctantly shown itself to him.

On the other hand...maybe it needed to "stall" him, so that he arrived precisely in time for the Council?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 27 2012, 1:16pm

Post #25 of 27 (280 views)
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*watercolor, not drawing // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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