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Late again!


Apr 7 2013, 1:23pm

Views: 58
Late again! [In reply to] Can't Post

The plan was to reply on Thursday, after SAST - but then one daughter was ill, and someone had dental problems, and we had a visit from the plumbers...

On to your post!

Has anybody else noticed this comparison before?
No. Thank you!

Is it a valid one-- do you think the parallel is intentional?
The idea that oaths can be twisted as a reason not to take them is interesting. However, in this case we need to consider the Oath of Eorl, and of the Dead to Isildur (to name just two). I don't think Elrond is concerned with twisting oaths, but with binding oneself under unforseeable circumstances, a bit of wisdom paralleling Eccl. 5:4. After all, the one oath in Middle-earth which was punctilliously kept was the oath of the sons of Feanor - not a good example! (as Elrond himself can testify)

Regarding Gollum's oath - well, arguably, it was also kept. He did serve the true Master of the Precious (Sauron), first leading Frodo to be captured by orcs, and then taking the Ring from him in the one place where none could resist or hide from Sauron - went also did not let Him (Sauron again) regain the Ring again. The oath was twisted because Gollum was twisted.

However, when we get to Ithilien, we see a land that is not yet corrupted, but on the verge of being lost. In other words, we see what the lands under Sauron would look like; soon after, we see other lands that are at stake, and the potential loss is much more jarring.
I've thought of the place Ithilien takes in Book IV - after the descent into Hell (the Emyn Muil, the Dead Marshes, the Desolation before Mordor) after which the Gate are closed, before taking the roundabout way, Frodo and Sam must return for a short respite to the Lands of the Living, which seems like a dream (as when Faramir and his men vanish at the beginning of Journey to the Cross-Roads) - but refreshes and strengthens them, before actually crossing into Mordor. It is noteworthy that Sam's permanent recuperation (but alas, not Frodo's) also takes place in Ithilien.

However, I think your teacher made a really good point; and it is noteworthy that you do not need to wait untill Book VI for the reminder of what Mordor would look like - as from Ithilien Frodo and Sam pass directly to the hateful, loathsome valley of Imlad Morgul.

On the other hand...was it really a victory?
As Elrond said, a fruitless one - but then he qualifies this defeatist statement.

Had it been a true victory, the land would not be as beyond redemption as it is now
I wonder. In Unfinished Tales, the story of another battle upon the plain of Gorgoroth is told; the story indicates that the Desolation was not as bad twelve centuries before the time of the story, but the Dead Marshes were loathsome already. But when did Sauron do that? He was banished seven years after the battle - when did he have the time to work this foul magic?

What do you make of all these dead places?
The Dead Marshes, the Desolation of Mordor, and Gorgoroth seem like a living dead place, if you understand what I mean - you walk under the Sun, yet it feels like death (the antithesis to Frodo's feeling on Cerin Amroth - I've once contrasted them).
Moria feels more like the Barrow-downs, the Paths of the Death, and Cirith Ungol - an underground passage, crossing an unseen border. Curious once wrote of this as a quasi-rebirth.

Do you see any crucial differences between Moria and the Dead Marshes, in terms of how far gone they are?
Moria isn't "gone". There is no indication that it has become a corrupted place. Dark, deserted, fearsome - but nothing like Mordor.

Also, when Elves die, their spirits go to the Halls of Mandos-- so what exactly are we seeing in the Marshes?
Who knows? Their decomposing bodies? Mere phantoms? Or are they trapped somehow, like the Ringwraithes are?

What do you think of this comparison?
It is very instructing. Shippey draws it, seeming to consider Faramir much the better man. I can't say whether I've thought of it myself before reading it.

Are there any other similarities or differences you'd like to point out, or is the parallel valid at all?
Well, if I don't finish this post now, I never will. So I'll break off. Sorry.

Any other thoughts in general?
Just that I don't think Faramir's reaction to Galadriel is so positive, or that Eomer's is so wrong. But that's a whole new topic.

Subject User Time
Tolkien Notes: The Smelliest Book Tolkien Ever Wrote Laerasėa Send a private message to Laerasėa Apr 1 2013, 3:11am
    Hello Laerasėa silneldor Send a private message to silneldor Apr 1 2013, 4:28am
        Oh, yes! Laerasėa Send a private message to Laerasėa Apr 1 2013, 6:32pm
    I like that second proposal! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Apr 6 2013, 3:04pm
    Late again! sador Send a private message to sador Apr 7 2013, 1:23pm


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