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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Tolkien @UVM

Istar Indigo

Jul 16 2013, 7:41pm

Post #1 of 9 (224 views)
Tolkien @UVM Can't Post

Greetings all!

This is week 2 of our Middle-earth course. Students should post any questions here or start their own thread.



Jul 16 2013, 9:50pm

Post #2 of 9 (124 views)
Great Chris, thanks! And welcome to all, and all of your questions! // [In reply to] Can't Post


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.


Jul 17 2013, 11:57am

Post #3 of 9 (120 views)
Welcome! May I also suggest... [In reply to] Can't Post

...a couple of other things you might use the site for?

Unlike some forums (fora?) threads here never close - so if you find an old discussion and want to post a reply to it, you can do so. The "Search posts" function is not bad at finding earlier discussions about a particular point. Of course it works better for some questions than for others (depending upon how easy it is to think of a term to feed the search engine) Anyway "threads that are strong do not wither" because the site has a "watch thread" function which sends people email alerts when a thread is replied to, and so a new reply usually reactivates the discussion. Even if the thread has been dormant for months. So old threads can be a good way to go if you originally had a question, have now found a discussion giving many possible and intriguing answers, and now have questions about those answers.... (That's perfectly normal round here btw.).

However, don't worry about asking a question that has been asked before - we're normally happy to discuss it all over again, it seems (and oddly enough the discussion comes out different each time!)

And feel welcome to join in everything and anything else going on - we're currently discussing the Silmarillion (Turin this week - currently aspects of prophesy and premonition and pride ), and also the version history of the Hobbit, and its evolution as a story. Contributors are very much welcome to both of those!

And finally, no need to stop coming here when your course ends, if you're having fun!

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, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

Registered User

Jul 17 2013, 3:50pm

Post #4 of 9 (127 views)
Question [In reply to] Can't Post

I am going to go ahead and post my discussion question on here for other members on here for you guys who aren't in the class to discuss if you want to.

Do you think an unbroken or less fragmented fellowship (i.e. Frodo, Sam, Legolas, and Gimli) would have succeeded in destroying the ring?



Jul 17 2013, 4:58pm

Post #5 of 9 (106 views)
mae govannen! [In reply to] Can't Post

mae govannen, ihines : )

the ring was a corrosive element wearing away at the fellowship since its departure from rivendell.

an interesting "what if" is that it was faramir who received the prophetic, compelling dreams / visions that seemed to indicate that he was the one chosen to be part of the fellowship, and boromir took his place.

if we view how faramir interacted with the ring (he easily rejected it), one might theorize that if faramir was part of the fellowship, as he was presumably supposed to be, that perhaps the full complement of the fellowship would have gotten frodo to mt. doom. i think that is a possibility.

however, i wonder if tolkien overlooked, in his massive undertaking of writing and editing, that faramir rejected the ring far too easily. he seemed to be able to reject it more easily than galadriel or gandalf. i wonder if he might have made it more difficult for faramir to reject the ring, to bring him into alignment with the other personas in question, and the weaknesses and strengths of his race.

as for the boromir fellowship, i think that one was doomed to break up from the get-go. could the eight of them (minus boromir) have made it to mount doom? i have often thought that one of the strengths of sam and frodo going it alone is that two are more easily overlooked than nine (or eight). plus, they are two small hobbits, who are more apt to blend into the back ground. only elves, i think, could be as naturally undetectable.

but whatever the complement of the fellowship, whatever its number, it would have faced the same dilemma at the end... frodo was overpowered by the ring, and could not give it up willingly. it was only by gollum's (unintended) intervention that the ring was destroyed.

cheers --


aka. fili orc-enshield
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Jul 17 2013, 5:40pm

Post #6 of 9 (93 views)
What if [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome, Ihines, and great question.

I think the fellowship was destined to be broken because both Boromir and Aragorn wanted to go to Minas Tirith to help defend it. Aragorn toyed with the idea of helping Frodo reach Mt Doom, but I don't believe he was truly committed to it. Otherwise he would have followed after him once he was certain Merry & Pippin were safe. Instead he stayed to help the West fight to keep itself intact. When Gandalf returns as The White, he's more determined to help Rohan and Gondor than follow Frodo, even knowing his peril, of course. So those 3 seemed like they'd never have gone all the way to the end.

I wonder the same thing about if the others had stuck with Frodo, how it would have turned out. As Maciliel said, hobbits have the advantage of blending in. What if all 4 of them had accompanied Frodo? That seems plausible. If all 9 had been there together and went through Cirith Ungol, could Frodo's Phial and Gandalf's staff have warded off Shelob, and Glamdring and Sting cleared the webs? Yes. Then if everyone kept their wits, Shelob wouldn't have so easily ambushed them later. Or maybe, given Aragorn and Gandalf's past prowling around Mordor, they would have found a safer entrance to Mordor. But 9 people traipsing around Sauron's country, no matter how carefully, would have attracted more attention than 2 little hobbits. For that reason, I think their greatest risk would have been discovery. Their greatest benefit would have been having more mental and physical resources to help Frodo reach Mt Doom--most of the time, he and Sam had little idea what they were doing and how to survive. If Frodo had arrived at the Crack of Doom in better shape, he might have found it easier to cast away the Ring. That's a big "if." He had trouble doing so in his own living room.

Tol Eressea

Jul 17 2013, 6:37pm

Post #7 of 9 (90 views)
Alternative Histories [In reply to] Can't Post

They are a messy thing to get into, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I will be Devil's Advocate here.

The first problem I see is:

How would they get into Mordor?

Gandalf never revealed his plan, if even he had one. Gollum was instrumental in their entrance and may have felt daunted by a larger group. He may have even used some orcs, maybe Shelob, to attack the Fellowship, and the story would need to explain a lot more, of how they got out of that scrape. Gollum was not going away.

Then you have the consideration of the threads of story that run concurrently to the Journey to Mordor.

Who else would save Gondor and Rohan, and how would Aragorn be King?

Assuming Gandalf is still lost in Moria,(I am starting this counter-factual exercise at the sundering of the Fellowship) it would be a large job for one wizard. Not even to mention the saving of Faramir or the showdown with the Witch-king on the Pellanor Fields. Then you would have the Non-Return of the King for a third book title, if Aragorn accompanied them.

Then you have the influence of The Ring to account for.

Boromir would seem to be the loose fuse in the group, without his death, which adds a sense of realism, besides setting up Denethor's madness and conflict with Faramir, he would be a constant peril to the group. He would seem tp be ""marked for death", as it were, a ME 'redshirt'.

Aragorn would seem to be more resistant to The Ring, but would also seem to have an attraction to the power of The Ring, with no telling how it would affect him. I think he could have pulled if though.

Then you have the Hobbits, probably the most likely, in my book, to hold out against The Ring. The rigors of the journey, however, might have claimed the lives a few of the best loved characters.

Legolas and Gimli are the hardest to place. They never seem to have ANY compulsion to take The Ring, but who knows what might happen over the many miles between the Argonath and Mount Doom. Though the thought of their banter in Mordor gives me a few giggles.

Bottom line: The story WOULD be radically different.


Jul 17 2013, 7:46pm

Post #8 of 9 (98 views)
I think that *every* member was vital for ... [In reply to] Can't Post

The success in the War of the Ring, but not necessarily in the destruction of the Ring. The Ring was always going to be destroyed, regardless of whom went with Frodo and Sam. However, the small of events would have been drastically different had the Fellowship not been broken.

Boromir needed to die so that the Ring wasn't taken to Minas Tirith. Merry & Pippin needed to meet Treebeard in order for the Ents to be roused and destroy Isengard. Aragorn was needed to get to Minas Tirith via the Paths of the Dead. Gandalf needed to be "resurrected" both to aid Rohan and Gondor. And I think Legolas and Gimli are more of the force within the Fellowship. Gimli is particularly important - whether he was tending a fire, rambling of the wonders of Moria, slaying Orcs at Helm's Deep, or smoking a relaxing pipe in Isengard, he is always portrayed as a kind and thoughtful character. He never thinks of himself first, but instead the greater task at hand. Examples of this are the Paths of the Dead, and going into Lothlorien despite fears of an Elven witch. All he craves is equality, and understanding, and in turn he risks his very life, as he did when he saved Eomer.

All 9 of them were required, for the War of the Ring to be won.

Coming soon! The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.

Registered User

Jul 24 2013, 3:24pm

Post #9 of 9 (60 views)
Poor Gandalf... [In reply to] Can't Post

You guys might find this to be funny... and a bit disturbing perhaps, but mostly funny!



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