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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Saviour characters

noWizardme
Grey Havens


Apr 24 2013, 4:56pm


Views: 311
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Saviour characters Can't Post

In Book 1 of Lord of the Rings, there's a pattern whereby, just as things get hairy, a "saviour" character arrives to help (same in many of Bilbo's pre Mirkwood adventures).

This thought is far from originally mine: This from reading a discussion of a Shortcut to Mushrooms from the TORN archive:

Quote

squire: 6. Do you like the idea that there is a “savior” character in every chapter of this book?
Aunt Dora Baggins: I've always liked the periods of rest and safety and "savior" characters, maybe because I first read LotR at a fairly young age. If the book were all danger and suffering, I don't think I would have made it through a first reading. As we say in my writers' group, "Why don't they all just sit down and have party now and then?"
N.E. Brigand: I'd like to hear more about that theory: do the first two chapters have "savior" characters, for example?
Nerdanel_50: Is there? Hmmm. Have to think about that one.
Estelwyn: LAte comments about "saviours" To be honest, I'd never heard this idea before. I'm sure we can all think of plenty of saviour figures throughout LOTR, but as for there being one for every chapter -- well, you've got me very curious there. Here's what I came up with as far as "who's the saviour" in the chapters of Book One. Some are more obvious than others IMO. There were a few chapters in which I couldn't really see anyone "saving" anyone.
Chapter 1 A Long-expected Party -- Gandalf (saves Bilbo from keeping the Ring)
Chapter 2 The Shadow of the Past -- ?
Chapter 3 Three is Company -- Gildor and company
Chapter 4 A Short Cut to Mushrooms -- Farmer Maggot
Chapter 5 A Conspiracy Unmasked -- Merry et al ("save" Frodo from having to go off alone -- a bit of a stretch, this one)
Chapter 6 The Old Forest -- Bombadil (from Old Man Willow)
Chapter 7 In the House of Tom Bombadil -- ?
Chapter 8 Fog on the Barrow-Downs -- Bombadil (from barrow-wight)
Chapter 9 At the Sign of The Prancing Pony -- ?
Chapter 10 Strider -- Nob (saves Merry from BRs, if you like); Strider (saves Frodo from wandering in wilderness with no guidance)
Chapter 11 A Knife in the Dark -- Strider (from BRs at Weathertop)
Chapter 12 Flight to the Ford - Glorfindel

I'm interested where this idea came from and how it can be substantiated. Who would the saviours be in Ch 2, 7, and 9, when no one really needs saving as far as I can see?
squire: Well, I was just shooting from the hip when I said that. I made it up. It just seemed like there was a savior at the end of every chapter as I was writing.
But although there is not one at the end of every chapter, as your list shows, there sure are a lot.
Restricting the list to someone who really saves the hero from impending harm, I get seven out of twelve. (Gildor, Maggot, Bombadil, Bombadil, Strider, Strider, Glorfindel). This has all the earmarks of a conspiracy.
Or at least a real pattern to writing adventure chapters.
http://users.bestweb.net/~jfgm/Mushrooms%20Website/05%20Discussion%20-%20Beware%20of%20Dogs.htm#06%20Estelwyn


Thought the 2013 reading room might like go consider this again! I think the pattern breaks down later in both The Hobbit and in LOTR. Do you suppose that's showing our heroes increasing maturity: instead of needing to be rescued by a grown-up, they are more capable of fending for themselves, or rescuing others?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "

Subject User Time
Saviour characters noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 24 2013, 4:56pm
    I think it's more about increasing dangers, and fewer rescues CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Apr 24 2013, 5:23pm
        Children's book requirements? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 24 2013, 5:34pm
    A repudiation of Thomas Carlyle? Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Apr 24 2013, 5:47pm
        well put telain Send a private message to telain Apr 24 2013, 9:48pm
            I thank you. Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Apr 24 2013, 9:51pm
    i don't think the premise of savior characters in every chapter flies Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Apr 25 2013, 11:43am
        Great expression CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Apr 25 2013, 1:11pm
        The "saviour" idea it becomes increasingly (and interestingly) problematic as the story progresses noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 25 2013, 2:37pm
            elf-removal Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Apr 25 2013, 3:15pm
                I can see you're not going for it.... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 25 2013, 5:40pm
                    not trying to be argumentative.... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Apr 25 2013, 10:06pm
                        Quite so - the right thing to do with ideas like this is to take them for a test run noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 26 2013, 8:32am
                            nowimė, heya : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Apr 26 2013, 9:10am
                            i will also add Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Apr 26 2013, 9:28am
                                Cause & causation elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Apr 26 2013, 3:06pm
                                    Hand me my Overthinking pills noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Apr 26 2013, 3:51pm
                                        "The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everything"!! elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Apr 26 2013, 4:51pm
            Semi-saviors CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Apr 25 2013, 9:26pm
    Tolkien: Believer Frostbitten Send a private message to Frostbitten May 3 2013, 5:16pm
        Welcome to the Reading Room, Frostbitten. Interesting point!// noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 3 2013, 5:39pm

 
 
 

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