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Spectacles in Middle-Earth?
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One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Aug 6 2013, 7:15pm

Post #1 of 28 (486 views)
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Spectacles in Middle-Earth? Can't Post

I was marathoning the trilogy last week when it struck me that nobody wears glasses. Now I've read the books a few times, but I don't recall there being any specific mentioning of glasses or spectacles. Has anybody read something regarding this? Is there any evidence of such things in the world of Middle-Earth? Would I be right to assume that optometry is not yet a developed profession? Tongue

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"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


Fredeghar Wayfarer
Lorien


Aug 6 2013, 7:20pm

Post #2 of 28 (264 views)
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Probably not [In reply to] Can't Post

If they existed anywhere, it might be in the Shire. They had a few anachronistic devices like clocks and plumbing and generally seemed a bit more modern than other cultures in Middle-earth. I wonder why that is (other than the English countryside tone Tolkien was trying to set).


Escapist
Gondor


Aug 6 2013, 7:24pm

Post #3 of 28 (270 views)
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It seems to me that science, the arts, and technology [In reply to] Can't Post

were just shifting into the realm of men at the time of Tolkien's stories, having been tuned and centered on dwarves or elves until that time (without the existence of a grand "scientific community" that facilitated the sharing of the wealth of ideas).

I would guess that (at least among non-Numenorean folk), such frailty existed. I wouldn't be too surprised if it was less prominent, though, since I doubt that people were pouring over books and computer screens in dimmed lighting for hours in those times - which could reduce both the need and the underlying cause for corrective lenses.


cats16
Valinor

Aug 6 2013, 9:31pm

Post #4 of 28 (259 views)
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The only example I can think of... [In reply to] Can't Post

Is the "seeing-device" Balin uses in AUJ to read the contract after Bilbo signs it (maybe you all would classify this as a magnifying glass, of sorts, instead of truer spectacles. I'm not very knowledgeable on the classification of eyewear...). I know it's from the newer film, but I thought I'd bring it up since you mentioned watching the trilogy. I agree with you on the absence in the books (a very interesting observation!). Book universe- Sorry if you have poor eyesight. No adventures for you! Tongue Filmverse- I suppose PJ says yes, at least for an old, hard-of-sight dwarf. So I guess that may be the only example to list, for now. Smile


(This post was edited by cats16 on Aug 6 2013, 9:33pm)


Loresilme
Valinor


Aug 6 2013, 10:44pm

Post #5 of 28 (232 views)
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In the books I noticed [In reply to] Can't Post

the opposite, that several characters are specifically mentioned as having very excellent eyesight. I guess people who spend most of their time outdoors, actively looking and scanning, etc., would have great distance vision.

In TH movie, the dwarves of Erebor were wearing eye glasses when they were working with their jewels:

http://screencapped.net/movie/lotr/albums/userpics/10002/thehobbit-000313.jpg


Cool design Cool!


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Aug 7 2013, 12:36am

Post #6 of 28 (226 views)
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The Rankin/Bass 'Hobbit' [In reply to] Can't Post

At least one of the Dwarves (Dori?) wears glasses in the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


sevilodorf
Gondor


Aug 7 2013, 2:32am

Post #7 of 28 (226 views)
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Magnifiers probably [In reply to] Can't Post

a jewelers loupe like that used by Balin in AUJ were probably in existence .... and didn't Elrond have a telescope set up in the garden in the scene where Arwen returns after her vision of Eldarion? So by movie 'verse the principals of magnification with lens exists. Whether they do in book 'verse or not is debatable.

Is that liquid filled glass globe by Gandalf's elbow in the Library of Minas Tirith an oil lamp or possibly a magnifier also... there were candles.... which I always thought the librarians would be nervously hovering around.

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Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Aug 7 2013, 11:32am

Post #8 of 28 (205 views)
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Telescopes...and microscopes? [In reply to] Can't Post

In the window of his cottage Radagast has what appears to be a microscope of some kind...



In Reply To

there were candles.... which I always thought the
librarians would be nervously hovering around.




Laugh That library scene always makes me want to grab my fire extinguisher. Open flame...dust...dry, crumbling manuscripts--and accident waiting to happen!! Shocked

"It was just a sword, beautiful in the way of a weapon, with the jewels in the hilt set in gold scrollwork, and the blade glimmering and eager, as if it would fight of itself. Weapons are named for this; some are eager fighters, some dogged, some unwilling; but all are alive."--The Hollow Hills



acheron
Gondor


Aug 7 2013, 12:45pm

Post #9 of 28 (209 views)
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regarding telescopes [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe worth noting that the word "telescope" means "far seeing" -- exactly the same translation as "palantir".

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Inferno
Superuser / Moderator


Aug 7 2013, 1:41pm

Post #10 of 28 (180 views)
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Telescopes seem likely, [In reply to] Can't Post

at least as a Numenorean invention. The more portable 'spyglass' would be of use to mariners, and Tar-Meneldur was noted as an astronomer. While not strictly necessary for basic astronomy, a telescope is certainly a useful tool.

Inferno.

======================
Good night, tOR.Nados. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely delete you in the morning.
======================


Na Vedui
Rohan


Aug 7 2013, 3:26pm

Post #11 of 28 (201 views)
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News from Gondor [In reply to] Can't Post

The Great Library of Minas Tirith has been awarded a grant by the prestigious Rivendell Trust to upgrade its facilities and undertake preservation work on some of the many priceless historical manuscripts it houses.

Receiving the award from Lord Elrond of Rivendell today, Faramir of Ithilien said "This is a dream come true. For many years it was my ambition to do something about the state of the Library but with the country on a war footing it was not possible to dedicate resources to it."

Top priority will be control of the Library environment to comply with Middle Earth Preservation Office guidelines. "We have nothing at present," said Faramir, "no temperature control, no dehumidifiers, no air-conditioning. We have a rodent problem and there is woodworm in the building."

Among the first items to be dispatched to Rivendell for special conservation work by Elven binders and restorers will doubtless be the unique 2,500 year old MS, written in Isildur's own hand, describing how he took the One Ring from Sauron in battle.

The work has the full backing of Aragorn, High King of Gondor, who is contributing match-funding to the project from the Gondor Treasury. "I have a personal interest", he says, "there is a lot of our family history in that Library."

Proposed developments include a shop, a tea-room, and the appointment of a Genealogy Archivist to assist members of the public in researching their own family history from the resources in the Library.
…………………………………………………………………………………………

"Strider - Your Majesty - does that mean Gandalf and I won't be able to drink beer any more while we're looking at the manuscripts?"
"I'm afraid so, Pippin."
"But we can smoke? Can't we?"
"Not unless you want to set off the fire alarm! There are smoke detectors in there."

…"You know, Merry, I never really understood all that stuff about one Age coming to an end and a new one starting. But now I think I'm beginning to see…"


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 7 2013, 3:59pm

Post #12 of 28 (174 views)
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LOL! *mods up* [In reply to] Can't Post

The librarian in me is delighted, and the hobbit in me is grumping about "The Rules"! Laugh


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Aug 7 2013, 4:08pm

Post #13 of 28 (171 views)
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At last! [In reply to] Can't Post

(Please pardon the pun. Smile) Isildur's journal will be preserved safe and sound for the ages!

However, sources say that choice bits of this article have been edited. Originally it read: "...We have a rodent problem and there are woodworms and even Wizards in the building" and "...the appointment of a large, hairy man with a very sharp sword to assist careless members of the public like Gandalf Stormcrow in researching."
Wink

(Not that Faramir would ever really say that, of course, being a friend of Mithrandir and all... Smile)

"It was just a sword, beautiful in the way of a weapon, with the jewels in the hilt set in gold scrollwork, and the blade glimmering and eager, as if it would fight of itself. Weapons are named for this; some are eager fighters, some dogged, some unwilling; but all are alive."--The Hollow Hills



RosieLass
Valinor


Aug 7 2013, 4:49pm

Post #14 of 28 (165 views)
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Although they seem fairly ignorant of astronomy in Middle-earth. [In reply to] Can't Post

At least insofar as the dwarves were unable to predict when the next Durin's Day would occur.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


RosieLass
Valinor


Aug 7 2013, 4:50pm

Post #15 of 28 (172 views)
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A tea room, lol! [In reply to] Can't Post

Has Starbuck's infiltrated even Middle-earth? Laugh

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


dreamflower
Lorien

Aug 7 2013, 6:00pm

Post #16 of 28 (155 views)
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I don't see why not [In reply to] Can't Post

Spectacles were invented in the last part of the 13th century in "our world"; I don't see why they would not have been known in some cultures in M-e.

I doubt if they'd ever be needed by Elves, but I am sure that the Secondborn were as prone to near- or far-sightedness as the rest of us. I can easily see them in use in the Shire--in fact, I believe I've seen some art with Bilbo sitting at his desk wearing a pair. ( I can't recall for certain, but I think it was Bros. Hildebrandt?) And I am quite sure the Numenoreans would have had the tech to develop them, and probably the crafters of Dale. If they were possible in the 1200s in RL history, I think they'd have been possible there.

I don't know about Dwarves--I'm sure they'd have had the ability to make them, but don't know about Dwarvish eyesight, and whether they'd be necessary.


dreamflower
Lorien

Aug 7 2013, 6:04pm

Post #17 of 28 (158 views)
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I love this [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for the giggles.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Aug 7 2013, 6:36pm

Post #18 of 28 (146 views)
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Ye olde Starbucks [In reply to] Can't Post

Slogan: Food made by the Elves- the people of the stars, for Men- the people of the Sun.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Aug 7 2013, 7:21pm

Post #19 of 28 (141 views)
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Balin had the specs in the animated film [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
At least one of the Dwarves (Dori?) wears glasses in the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit.



After checking a clip from the 1977 animated adaptation, I see it was Balin who wore glasses.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


elentari3018
Lorien


Aug 8 2013, 2:24am

Post #20 of 28 (139 views)
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This is such a great topic! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love this topic because i'm in the optical field and glasses are what i deal with everyday!

I think older dwarves like Balin and even Bilbo should've had magnifying glasses. TOlkien didn't mention this bookverse but PJ based on knowing that age causes presbyopia does give Balin a monocle which is interesting.

When we see the dwarves looking at the jewels there are also magnifying glasses. I"m not sure about formal eyewear like we have today but obviously once hobbits, men and dwarves age, they need glasses or magnifying objects of some sort. I do not know about elves though. :P

Cool topic!!! =)

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Aug 9 2013, 7:27pm

Post #21 of 28 (99 views)
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In the movies [In reply to] Can't Post

Elrond has a telescope, the Dwarves used them when looking at crystals, and Radagast has some type of magnifier, too... then there's Balin's eyepiece. I haven't "seen" anything in the stories that address visual aids of any kind... except Frodo's image in the looking-glass in Rivendell. Then again, my memory is pretty flimsy nowadays :)


4th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - May 1, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



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Cirashala
Grey Havens


Aug 9 2013, 7:37pm

Post #22 of 28 (97 views)
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glasses [In reply to] Can't Post

Having contacts myself (glasses formerly) and a lazy eye that obviously turns inward with them off, I cannot imagine having to go through life constantly either blurry eyed or with my eye turning in and a headache so I could see clearly.

Since the dwarves had what appeared to be "spectacles" (to me they looked more like handcuffs with glass in them) in Erebor as they worked on the intricate pieces, and since I can imagine it quite well in the Shire if they have other niceties such as indoor plumbing for individual structures as such (pretty advanced for the time period), I would say the innovative dwarves (who had I am sure a very intricate system of plumbing similar to ancient Rome in their halls of stone) who were in dim light and dealt with fine things (two things that often lend need for glasses) would have made some sort of spectacle.

Whether or not it is up to what we would envision as glasses is irrelevant. I am sure people had ways of magnification, even if they weren't particularly common. I can imagine poorer peasants would have had less access to such luxuries as those who were better off.

But I feel it would be safe to say that the dwarves and hobbits would at least have had some, and the prologue in AUJ seems to confirm that Smile

Tauriel (as her hair catches during BO5A)- Ah, now I understand why you keep your beard so short, master Kili!
Kili: Um, because it grows slowly? (glares at her for perceived insult)
Tauriel: Because your beard doesn't get tangled in your *^%*(^$%* beard every time you shoot! (more curses as it gets further tangled)
Kili: Um, YEAH! That's it! That's why I keep my beard short! (strides off triumphantly with a huge grin on his face, still shooting arrows as the cursing and tangles continues behind him)

Tauriel keeps fighting the tangles on the battlefield long after Dain takes the throne and Dale is rebuilt. Frodo takes the ring to Morder and once Sauron is defeated she FINALLY gets the last arrow out.


ryouko
Lorien

Aug 10 2013, 11:50pm

Post #23 of 28 (80 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Has Starbuck's infiltrated even Middle-earth? Laugh


You can find it in the Walmarts. Wink


Annael
Half-elven


Aug 11 2013, 4:14pm

Post #24 of 28 (72 views)
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elves don't age [In reply to] Can't Post

so I doubt they'd suffer the indignities that come along with an aging body.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Aug 12 2013, 4:09pm

Post #25 of 28 (59 views)
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Perhaps he Shire is more modern because... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it's a sort of half-way house between the world of Tolkien's audience and the more mythical world all around. So Bilbo or the other hobbits can be much more like us in attitude than, say, Thorin or Elrond or Boromir. Which helps when they are our point of view characters. It also gives JRRT some comic potential, with the somewhat bourgeois Bilbo needing to go out into Faerie on a quest

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!"

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