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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM - Day Three: Geography and Literature, Art & Language
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Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 23 2013, 8:13pm

Post #26 of 70 (248 views)
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Or at least the wood. [In reply to] Can't Post

Theseus' Paradox.

******************************************
"The tragedy of territorial geeks is that they found the wonderful world of fantasy, then missed its point."
-Luke McKinney


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 23 2013, 9:23pm

Post #27 of 70 (245 views)
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We do pine for puns, and I love this one Furincurunir // [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The keel was laid in 1759, (and the timber fir it would have been felled some years before) but the ship wasn't launched until 1765.


The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 23 2013, 9:27pm

Post #28 of 70 (235 views)
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Seemed a bit lumbering to me. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

******************************************
"The tragedy of territorial geeks is that they found the wonderful world of fantasy, then missed its point."
-Luke McKinney


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jul 23 2013, 9:35pm

Post #29 of 70 (242 views)
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Oak-a! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank my autocorrect (and the call to supper) for the unintentional "fir" pun. Only hardwoods for Victory, of course.

I guess Sauron could harvest lumber faster, having "fell beasts" to do it?

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

"nowimë 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!"


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 23 2013, 9:47pm

Post #30 of 70 (236 views)
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They'd need a large supply of fell meat [In reply to] Can't Post

In order to be 'logging' it all the way to back to Mordor.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 23 2013, 9:52pm

Post #31 of 70 (232 views)
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Knot that yew or I will mind. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 23 2013, 9:54pm

Post #32 of 70 (229 views)
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I'll bough to the timber of your post. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

******************************************
"The tragedy of territorial geeks is that they found the wonderful world of fantasy, then missed its point."
-Luke McKinney


elaen32
Gondor


Jul 23 2013, 9:59pm

Post #33 of 70 (221 views)
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Not more puns... [In reply to] Can't Post

that'll make me sycamore!! Then you willow me the dry cleaning bill money!Wink


The first TORn Amateur Symposium, IS NOW ON from Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Come and join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 23 2013, 9:59pm

Post #34 of 70 (221 views)
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That's awfully sweetgum of you Darkstone. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









(This post was edited by Brethil on Jul 23 2013, 10:00pm)


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jul 23 2013, 10:01pm

Post #35 of 70 (220 views)
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Large supply of fell meat… [In reply to] Can't Post

"Young hobbits *were* a lot of provender"

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

"nowimë 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!"


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 23 2013, 10:02pm

Post #36 of 70 (217 views)
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Sorry Elaen - we'll teak care of it! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 23 2013, 10:02pm

Post #37 of 70 (216 views)
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If it went against the grain, though,it wood need a little sprucing up to be any good. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 23 2013, 10:04pm

Post #38 of 70 (208 views)
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Nice! You have punning in the palm of your hand! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









elaen32
Gondor


Jul 23 2013, 10:09pm

Post #39 of 70 (225 views)
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I love this evocative description too, Squire [In reply to] Can't Post

One can almost smell all those herbs, cypresses etc and yes, it reminds me a lot of places I have visited in Italy and Greece. I always read the "dryad" loveliness as being more an adjective- but admittedly it does bring in another mythology. Wasn't Tolkien critical of the Narnia books for the very reason that it mixed mythologies too much?
Nonetheless, I feel that the dryad description adds to it for me personally, even if it is not really "correct" in a literary sense. It would have been nice to know what Legolas and his people did when they moved there. Would they have changed much? And what role would Faramir have had in this part of Ithilien after the war? Was North Ithilien part of his "princedom" or not?


The first TORn Amateur Symposium, IS NOW ON from Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Come and join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 23 2013, 10:14pm

Post #40 of 70 (224 views)
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An immersive passage [In reply to] Can't Post

I whole-heartedly agree. The vast amount of description might distract from the 'action' parts, but it allows me to just close my eyes, and paint a picture of the scene. I can just live in some of the moments that Tolkien describes.

Oh to be in Middle-Earth!!


elaen32
Gondor


Jul 23 2013, 10:20pm

Post #41 of 70 (218 views)
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I really enjoyed your discussion here Daniel [In reply to] Can't Post

Whenever I look at the M-e maps in the book, I see the names of Lond Daer and Tharbad and wonder what they were like in their hey day. They somehow seem mysterious. That the forest covered such a large area and then was destroyed by climate and human intervention is analogous in some ways to the situation in the British Isles, whereby many mountainous areas were said to once have been heavily forested. I always find it difficult to believe that relatively primitive human societies could have removed all of that and I guess the climate paid a role too- Is that correct or am I way off mark? However, the Numenoreans are meant to have "superior crafts" etc, so maybe they can destroy all those trees quite quickly. It's a shame that they didn't have replanting schemes!


The first TORn Amateur Symposium, IS NOW ON from Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Come and join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 23 2013, 10:27pm

Post #42 of 70 (206 views)
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Heartily agree with all of this Rembrethil! // [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I whole-heartedly agree. The vast amount of description might distract from the 'action' parts, but it allows me to just close my eyes, and paint a picture of the scene. I can just live in some of the moments that Tolkien describes.

Oh to be in Middle-Earth!!


The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 23 2013, 10:33pm

Post #43 of 70 (211 views)
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The 'new' shortsightedness of Mortality? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Whenever I look at the M-e maps in the book, I see the names of Lond Daer and Tharbad and wonder what they were like in their hey day. They somehow seem mysterious. That the forest covered such a large area and then was destroyed by climate and human intervention is analogous in some ways to the situation in the British Isles, whereby many mountainous areas were said to once have been heavily forested. I always find it difficult to believe that relatively primitive human societies could have removed all of that and I guess the climate paid a role too- Is that correct or am I way off mark? However, the Numenoreans are meant to have "superior crafts" etc, so maybe they can destroy all those trees quite quickly. It's a shame that they didn't have replanting schemes!




I know the Dwarves are mortal yet they seem to be on a different learning track than Men. Whether it is the much shorter lives of Men, or their detachment from the Song that binds the Elves, they seem to have little foresight. Maybe presuming that, since things don't change that much in their shorter lives, things will somehow 'stay all right' or 'work themselves out' and that one day's need defines the future and one's actions? Especially in comparison to length of Elven vision.

I would agree Elaen. I know JRRT had particular issues in the late 60's and early 70's with 'the American scene' and our less than stellar environmental management - so this cautionary tale of deforestation as a metaphor for modern actions all over the world?

I think so.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









telain
Rohan

Jul 23 2013, 11:48pm

Post #44 of 70 (231 views)
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geography and Tolkien: how could I refuse? [In reply to] Can't Post

Very interesting essay, and the discussion following it has been delightful to read (puns and all!)

A few questions for you, if you don't mind a (fellow) geographer butting in!

First, in reference to squire's excellent point, no, we can't simply plug in current Earth systems into a Middle-earth scenario and assume that they will work. But I don't think I am the only one who thinks that Tolkien intended Middle-earth to be the precursor to Modern-earth; he did intend to write the great legend of Britain, no? Does that mean that the physics and physical geographical systems were different? No, but it does suggest some continuity at some time. And an even better answer this question is Brethil's response upthread.

Now, to more specifics. I absolutely agree that the drowning of Beleriand would change the climate in (what is now the new) Middle-earth, particularly on the western side. Proximity to ocean water can certainly make the climate wetter, but it does depend quite strongly on latitude (presuming round earth) and prevailing winds. Morocco and Western Sahara have very dry climates, as does the west coast of South America (the Atacama is the driest place on Earth). Even Spain and Portugal have much drier climates than Britain, even though they are only a few degrees south of the south coast of Britain. Again, supposing that Middle-earth is the precursor to Modern-earth, and that Tolkien is writing the legend/history of Britain, then we could assume that the latitude is the same and that some (or all) of the annual precipitation is due to prevailing winds/warm ocean currents. However, given the expanse of Middle-earth (compared to Britain), I am less likely to believe the climate was as wet as you were suggesting (though I would go for the lower end of the range), nor perhaps as far inland as you were suggesting.

As for the forests, your analysis there is very interesting and underscores all the possible ways in which vegetation can be affected. As I tell my students, all these geographical systems are connected -- often in ways we have no idea about or how they work or balance out.

I have recently been reading "Gossip from the Forest" by Sara Maitland. She discusses many, many issues regarding the forests of Britain and northwestern Europe, but also touches on the debate about whether Europe was once a huge unbridled forest from western coasts to points East (as well as the species of trees that might have been native to certain areas). I think the evidence that there were vast stretches of naturally occurring grasslands and heath is quite compelling, but this is a relatively newish hypothesis (newer than Tolkien, if I am not mistaken). Tolkien, I imagine was rather steeped in the idea of a completely forested Britain/Europe and that is why, I think, he has this deforestation tale built into (especially the anthropogenic) story of Middle-earth.

So, the question I bring to this discussion, is, if the Valar were responsible for drowning Beleriand (full of lovely trees -- sorry Brethil!) and the resulting climatic conditions were unfavourable for original tree species reforestation, just how irate was Yavanna at all this!!??

And, I am sorry if I merely missed this point, didn't Elrond mention something about a squirrel being able to go from X to Y without touching the ground? Now where are my books??

Thank you so much, DanielB for writing this essay and bringing together two of my very favourite topics!


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 12:37am

Post #45 of 70 (205 views)
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Loss of forest (Brethil!) ;-( [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Very interesting essay, and the discussion following it has been delightful to read (puns and all!) SmileAngelic

So, the question I bring to this discussion, is, if the Valar were responsible for drowning Beleriand (full of lovely trees -- sorry Brethil!) and the resulting climatic conditions were unfavourable for original tree species reforestation, just how irate was Yavanna at all this!!?? Oh that's a good question Telain. (And yes its sad memory for me. All my lovely trees!) It seems that with the withdrawal of the Valar form the spheres of life in Arda perhaps Yavanna suffers the most; Ulmo the least. I'm sure she feels profoundly the actual loss of the trees and the wildlife that are lost with Beleriand; and as you say, then there are climate changes to follow that change parts of the world, especially the Western coast. Plus she has less involvement as time progresses. My hope is that after Morgoth is overthrown, there is that ruinous sinking, but then maybe some stable years (where as you say, the squirrel can travel in the trees - I can't quite find the line either! Is it Treebeard?) where life flourishes.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Magpie
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 3:28am

Post #46 of 70 (210 views)
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Well done, Squire [In reply to] Can't Post

I peeked in at the volume of papers already posted and thought, I can't tackle all that. But in the spirit of first grade me who loved getting a gold or red or blue foil star for every book she read, I thought, I can read one... that's one red star on my chart tonight and tomorrow's another day. :-)

So I picked Squire's because it's about plants and I like plants. Then I came back here to post something in response and saw all the replies and my heart quailed again. I can't read all those. So forgive me for not reading what's already been posted and jumping in the conversation but instead just offering my own thoughts.

Squire, I really liked that essay. First, I enjoyed the well thought out approach and articulate nature of your writing. It offered a lot of content in a way my mostly befuddled brain (these days) could take in.

The concept of pastoral style was new to me. So that was instructive and I appreciated the instruction. Beyond that, I liked looking at how Tolkien was writing about Ithilien and its flora in a new way. Especially the part about:

Quote
Now if you review how Tolkien writes his list of plants in the passage at the start of this essay, you’ll see that they tend to have agency, or self-direction. They are taking care of themselves [..] In some cases they are even personified, given consciousness by literary convention

That stuff just gives me a thrill because it makes it so evident how much care Tolkien took in writing.

Lastly, the whole idea of cultivated land going wild again has fascinated me since I was very young. We lived on a street that had been blocked off at the corner and the houses beyond that corner torn down to make room for the railroad tracks. The concrete slowly -- the further one walked from that corner -- dissolved into grasses and weeds and we played in the wild places that had once held yards and foundations. That fascination has held for me and it even featured in a dream I had that I talked about here. That dream was influenced by reading Flieger's A Question of Time so it's seems serendipitous to bring that circle back around to Tolkien by reading your essay.

thanks. Well done.


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Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 4:55am

Post #47 of 70 (184 views)
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Glad for your thoughts Magpie. And great to see you! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 9:48am

Post #48 of 70 (185 views)
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I'm glad you enjoyed it telain :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you so much for remembering that quote. I went digging, and this is what Elrond says:


Quote
`The Barrow-wights we know by many names; and of the Old Forest many tales have been told: all that now remains is but an outlier of its northern march. Time was when a squirrel could go from tree to tree from what is now the Shire to Dunland west of Isengard. In those lands I journeyed once, and many things wild and strange I knew


That suggests that the Old Forest, along with Fangorn and Eryn Vorn were all remnants of the vast forest that once existed. When I was estimating the area of the forest, I did limit it so that it didn't include Dunland and the Shire, simply because Treebeard's quote (and the passage in HOME) didn't say it extended that far north and north-east. It is likely, therefore, that the forest was hundreds (if not thousands) of square km bigger than I suggested. I'll have to re-write my essay now. Wink

Precipitation rates were, admittedly, a guesstimation. I went for quite a large range because of the variations in topography and seasonal differences over such a large area. Perhaps I should have emphasised that the greatest change in precipitation rates would have occurred along the coast and close to the mountains, rather than further inland. It's a case that precipitation will definitely have increased, but by how much? - even in our own world it is difficult to model and understand, due to the inherent complexities in the Clausius–Clapeyron relation to the scaling relationship between extreme precipitation intensity and surface air temperature. Wink

You'll enjoy my next essay I will be writing telain. Tolkien's description of fog on the Barrow-downs sounds exactly like radiation fog. I'll be explaining why and how the fog formed, and will include very speculative weather maps. Cool

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!



DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 10:00am

Post #49 of 70 (182 views)
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Thanks elaen :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

Historical forest loss in the UK isn't something I'm particularly knowledgeable about. And my geography of Northern UK is even worse. Wink Anything above Birmingham is all the same to me.

The relationship between human societies and nature is so close, that one cannot affect the other without a (positive or negative) feedback loop being established. As soon as you cut down a wooded area, regardless of whether or not climate change is already taking place, you will be enhancing possible changes. So, by clearing forests in mountainous areas, one is increasing surface run-off and soil erosion, adding carbon to the atmosphere, and other weirder effects such as reducing surface roughness which has a whole heap of impacts on atmospheric properties! That's is what makes attributing specific mechanisms (natural or man-made?) responsible for recent changes observed in the Earth's climate so difficult. I'm not sure any of that answers your question.

Tongue

I wonder why the Númenóreans didn't have a replanting scheme? It makes sense that they would, especially since they occupied the area for nearly 1,000 years. Even primitive Amazonian people have the "slash and burn" technique, to allow for re-growth between seasons.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!



DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 10:04am

Post #50 of 70 (178 views)
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I'm hoping that Yavanna wouldn't be to stroppy about loosing the forest [In reply to] Can't Post

The whole point of the War of Wrath was to finally rid Morgoth of Arda - if they had left him be, he could have caused much larger damage. Wink

They just failed to get rid of Sauron, and stupidly built Númenor instead. Angelic

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!


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