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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Can anyone direct to passages with descriptions of warfare/carnage?

Inkraven
Registered User

Feb 25 2013, 6:41pm

Post #1 of 17 (335 views)
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Can anyone direct to passages with descriptions of warfare/carnage? Can't Post

This is for a paper I am writing on Tolkien. I was hoping I could get a little help from people who are likely much more familiar with the books.

I am looking for descriptions of war within The Lord of the Rings. For example, a description of the death and destruction at Pelennor Fields and Amon Hen.

Thanks!


elevorn
Lorien


Feb 25 2013, 6:44pm

Post #2 of 17 (183 views)
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book 5 chapter 6// [In reply to] Can't Post

 



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
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Inkraven
Registered User

Feb 25 2013, 7:06pm

Post #3 of 17 (189 views)
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Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

Reading it right now.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Feb 25 2013, 7:43pm

Post #4 of 17 (201 views)
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The elegy at the end is so beautiful: [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Death in the morning and at day’s ending
lords took and lowly. Long now they sleep
under grass in Gondor by the Great River.
Grey now as tears, gleaming silver,
red then it rolled, roaring water:
foam dyed with blood flamed at sunset;
as beacons mountains burned at evening;
red fell the dew in Rammas Echor.


This is a great example of Tolkien writing his version of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Should you find that a useful point to make in your paper, a good discussion of it is in this classic post.








IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 26 2013, 12:55am

Post #5 of 17 (172 views)
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A Couple of Things [In reply to] Can't Post

The Siege of Gondor
Battle of the Pelannor Fields
The Ride of the Rohirrim
And then all the host of Rohan burst into song. And they sang as they slew for the joy of battle was on them. And the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the city.


squire
Valinor


Feb 26 2013, 1:05am

Post #6 of 17 (184 views)
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Tolkien doesn't do carnage [In reply to] Can't Post

As I'm sure you'll find out when you read the battle passages that others have referred you to. I don't think he was interested in medieval-style warfare, except that it was a requisite element in the kind of romance he modeled his stories on. What little he wrote is both poeticized and bowdlerized. I think WW I, and his own natural prudish good taste, turned him off from vivid descriptions of heroic gore. He was more interested in moral carnage, if I may coin a phrase.



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.


CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 26 2013, 1:37am

Post #7 of 17 (175 views)
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Helm's Deep [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit" has a famous passage about battle between men of Gondor and Harad, which includes Sam's reflection on the corpse of a Harad man and wonders if the man chose to be so far from home or if he was there due to threats and lies.

And the Black Gate Opens has the final big battle.

The Scouring of the Shire has the Battle of Bywater between men and hobbits.

Never a dull moment. :)


sador
Half-elven


Feb 26 2013, 6:13am

Post #8 of 17 (165 views)
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Amon Hen is a movie addition. [In reply to] Can't Post

In the book there is nothing of it: Aragorn surveys Boromir's last battleground (III, 1), and Pippin has a flashback of the battle (III, 3) neither of which are gory. Legolas and Gimli report hunting orcs in the woods - but Gimli completely forgets that episode by the time he reaches Helm's Deep. Aragorn himself was somewhere else altogether.

The whole long sequence at the end of FotR was invented by the filmmakers, who felt that Frodo's departure must seem like a farewell rather than sneaking away, Boromir's herosim must be shown onstage, Aragorn needs to be shown at his best, both as a warrior and morally, and the whole Fellowship needs some closure. Everyone is entitled to their opinion as to how justified the concept is, and how well it was executed - but you won't find any such description by Tolkien himself!

The first part of the Battle of Five Armies (at the end of The Clouds Burst, ch. 17 of The Hobbit), and the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (Silmarillion ch. 20, Children of Hurin ch. 2), are the nearest you can get to a Tolkien-described carnage.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Feb 26 2013, 7:19am

Post #9 of 17 (171 views)
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Aye, there's some carnage, indeed. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
At last Fingon stood alone with his guard dead about him; and he fought with Gothmog, until another Balrog came behind and cast a thong of fire about him. Then Gothmog hewed him with his black axe, and a white flame sprang up from the helm of Fingon as it was cloven. Thus fell the High King of the Noldor; and they beat him into the dust with their maces, and his banner, blue and silver, they trod into the mire of his blood.


and...


Quote
Last of all Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Húrin cried: ‘Aurë entuluva! Day shall come again!’ Seventy times he uttered that cry; but they took him at last alive, by the command of Morgoth, for the Orcs grappled him with their hands, which clung to him still though he hewed off their arms; and ever their numbers were renewed, until at last he fell buried beneath them. Then Gothmog bound him and dragged him to Angband with mockery.









squire
Valinor


Feb 26 2013, 8:24am

Post #10 of 17 (180 views)
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You call that carnage? THIS is carnage! [In reply to] Can't Post



Then man slew man of the chieftains as the fight was scattered. First the valiant son of Menoetius smote the thigh of Areilycus with a cast of his sharp spear at the moment when he turned to flee, and drave the bronze clean through; [310] and the spear brake the bone, and he fell on his face on the ground.

And warlike Menelaus thrust and smote Thoas on the breast, where it was left bare beside the shield, and loosed his limbs.

And the son of Phyleus as he watched Amphiclus that was rushing upon him, proved quicker than his foe, and smote him upon the base of the leg, where [315] a man's muscle is thickest; and round about the spear-point the sinews were rent apart; and darkness enfolded his eyes.

Then of the sons of Nestor, the one, Antilochus, thrust at Atymnius with his sharp spear, and drave the spear of bronze through his flank; and he fell forward. But Maris, hard at hand, [320] rushed upon Antilochus with his spear, wroth for his brother's sake, and took his stand before the dead; howbeit godlike Thrasymedes was too quick for him, and forthwith ere his foe could thrust, smote upon his shoulder, and missed not; but the point of the spear shore the base of the arm away from the muscles, and utterly brake asunder the bone; [325] and he fell with a thud, and darkness enfolded his eyes. So these twain, overcome by twain brethren, went their way to Erebus, goodly comrades of Sarpedon, spearmen sons of Araisodarus, him that reared the raging Chimaera, a bane to many men. [330]

And Aias, son of Oileus, leapt upon Cleobulus, and caught him alive, entangled in the throng; but even there he loosed his might, smiting him upon the neck with his hilted sword. Thereat all the blade grew warm with his blood, and down over his eyes came dark death and mighty fate. [335]

Then Peneleos and Lyco rushed together, for with their spears either had missed the other, and both had cast in vain; but again they rushed together with their swords. Then Lyco let drive upon the horn of the helm with horse-hair crest, and the sword was shattered at the hilt; [340] but Peneleos smote him upon the neck beneath the ear, and all the blade sank in, so that naught but the skin held fast, and the head hung to one side, and his limbs were loosed.

And Meriones with swift strides overtook Acamas, and thrust and smote him, even as he was mounting his car, upon the right shoulder; and he fell from his car and down over his eyes a mist was shed. [345]

Then Idomeneus smote Erymas upon the mouth with a thrust of the pitiless bronze, and clean through passed the spear of bronze beneath the brain, and clave asunder the white bones; and his teeth were shaken out, and both his eyes were filled with blood;and up through mouth and nostrils he spurted blood as he gaped, [350] and a black cloud of death enfolded him. (Homer, The Iliad, Book 16, trans. Murray 1924)



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.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Feb 26 2013, 8:49pm

Post #11 of 17 (162 views)
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But for a writer who "doesn't do carnage" ... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it's fairly gory. I particularly liked the severed arms.








CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 26 2013, 8:59pm

Post #12 of 17 (141 views)
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And wasn't Huor killed by an arrow in his eye? Gory; not a heroic end for him.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 27 2013, 2:07am

Post #13 of 17 (200 views)
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Speaking of arrows, what of Smaug's death? [In reply to] Can't Post

Here be carnage, from The Hobbit: Fire and Water -


Quote
...The great bow twanged. The black arrow sped straight from the string, straight for the hollow by the left breast where the foreleg was flung wide. In it smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce was its flight. With a shriek that deafened men, felled trees and split stone, Smaug shot spouting into the air, turned over and crashed down from on high in ruin.

Full on the town he fell. His last throes splintered it to sparks and gledes. The lake roared in. A vast steam leaped up, white in the sudden dark under the moon. There was a hiss, a gushing whirl, and then silence. And that was the end of Smaug and Esgaroth, but not of Bard.

...

They removed northward higher up the shore; for ever after they had dread of the pants where the dragon lay. He would never again return to his golden bed, but was stretched cold as stone, twisted upon the floor of the shallows. There for ages his huge bones could be seen in calm weather amid the ruined piles of the old town. But few dared to cross the cursed spot, and none dared to dive into the shivering water or recover the precious stones that fell from his rotting carcase.


(Aside: Regarding not diving for the precious stones -- I guess there's a cure for dragon sickness after all.)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 27 2013, 3:08pm

Post #14 of 17 (129 views)
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Pants?! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
...for ever after they had dread of the pants where the dragon lay.

Are you trying to start a pants thread in the RR, SirDennis? Tongue

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 27 2013, 3:31pm

Post #15 of 17 (131 views)
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What kind of pants inspire dread? [In reply to] Can't Post

Do they breath fire? Eat people? Or are they just in very poor taste, like mixing checks and stripes?

:)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 27 2013, 6:06pm

Post #16 of 17 (145 views)
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Naughty and nice -- [In reply to] Can't Post

Can you imagine if someone copied the passage directly to a paper, without first reading carefully?

The nice bit is making the point that a close reading of Tolkien can reveal vivid descriptions of carnage.

Wink


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Feb 28 2013, 9:42pm

Post #17 of 17 (146 views)
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Smaug apparel [In reply to] Can't Post

If Smaug can have "a waistcoat of fine diamonds" maybe he has pants to match Smile though it sounds most uncomfortable....

OK, I'm not helping, am I?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...

 
 

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