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More favourite Tolkien quotes please!
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noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Aug 31 2013, 5:39pm

Post #1 of 34 (326 views)
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More favourite Tolkien quotes please! Can't Post

Please remember its much more interesting if you say why you like the quote, or what it means to you …

This time I'll go for:

Quote
Treebeard: "I am not going to do anything +with+ you: not if you mean by that "do something +to+ you" without your leave".


The reason for this choice: it seems at first like wordplay or academic nitpicking. But actually, Treebeards answer to "what will you do with us" is profound: he does not plan to coerce them - whereas if Saruman had caught them, he'd certainly have done something +to+ them. A distinction between good and evil behaviour nicely modelled.

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


Aug 31 2013, 6:56pm

Post #2 of 34 (233 views)
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Something from Theoden (Thanks for posting this Furuncurunir!) [In reply to] Can't Post

"...Call Hama to me. Since he proved untrusty as a doorward, let him become an errand-runner. The guilty shall bring the guilty to judgment," said Théoden, and his voice was grim, yet the looked at Gandalf and smiled and as he did so many lines of care were smoothed away and did not return.

I love this bit because it shows the light within Théoden, which was not extinguished by what came before: he still has humor and kindness in his soul and come out the other side. And that sweet shared smile with Gandalf: a tribute to Gandalf's healing.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Na Vedui
Rohan


Aug 31 2013, 10:58pm

Post #3 of 34 (215 views)
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Quotes [In reply to] Can't Post

"Even the very wise cannot see all ends" is one of my favourites of his wise words, because it's so true and so often forgotten. The world is plagued by people who are sure they have the answers; by contrast, the humility and good sense of Tolkien's wise ones - Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond and the like - is very refreshing.

And here's one for the beautiful image in it: It's Goldberry. "She held a candle, shielding its flame from the draught with her hand; and the light flowed through it, like sunlight through a white shell."

And a brilliant creepy one - the walls of Minas Morgul. "Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light that illuminated nothing. In the walls and tower windows showed, like countless black holes looking inward into emptiness; but the topmost course of the tower revolved slowly, first one way and then another, a huge ghostly head leering into the night."


cats16
Valinor

Sep 1 2013, 1:59am

Post #4 of 34 (213 views)
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Another fantastic Gandalf moment comes to mind, for me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf and Pippin share a very insightful exchange after Faramir has returned from abroad in Ithilien.

Only posting the last paragraph (and change):

"...'But,' said Pippin.
'But what?' said Gandalf. Only one but will I allow tonight.'
'Gollum,' said Pippin. 'How on earth could they be going about with him, even following him? And I could see that Faramir did not like the place he was taking them to any more than you do. What is wrong?'
'I cannot answer that now,' said Gandalf. 'Yet my heart guessed that Frodo and Gollum would meet before the end. For good, or for evil. But of Cirith Ungol I will not speak tonight. Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature. But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend. It can be so, sometimes. Good night!'"

I marked down this one, in case a thread like this should come up. Not saying it's the favorite, but I really enjoy it.

Gandalf's wisdom at its best here. For some reason this conversation seems like that of a father and son. He comforts Pippin, who is obviously concerned about his friends. I read this as Gandalf saying: Yes, Frodo and Sam are in a dangerous situation with Gollum. I don't doubt that he may betray them. But that's how it is, and we have our own troubles ahead of us. So sleep in peace, and know that there is always hope, even in the worst of treacheries.

They very well may perish as Minas Tirith falls. So Gandalf's words allow Peregrin one last night of a peaceful night's sleep, without fear that Frodo and Sam are sure to fail the quest.


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 1 2013, 2:08am

Post #5 of 34 (203 views)
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I first read LotR as a youth [In reply to] Can't Post

who was very much impressed by heroism and courage, so this passage with its vivid imagery and exciting action was a particular favorite.

"...but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.

From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.

Glamdring glittered white in answer.

There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepped back a pace, and then again stood still.

"You cannot pass!" he said.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.


squire
Valinor


Sep 1 2013, 2:37am

Post #6 of 34 (242 views)
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From the 'Minas Tirith' chapter [In reply to] Can't Post

The townlands were rich, with wide tilth and many orchards, and homesteads there were with oast and garner, fold and byre, and many rills rippling through the green from the highlands down to Anduin. -LotR V.1
I have to admit that this is one of my favorites entirely on grounds of vocabulary. In a single sentence, are four words I didn't (and frankly, still don't) know: tilth, oast, garner, and byre. Obviously they have to do with farming and agriculture, but I remain puzzled whether Tolkien expected his readers to know them or not. Of course, I give credit to the fact that Tolkien growing up in semi-rural England around 1900 was coming from a different world than I, an American suburban kid from the 1960's. But did he think these words were still current - or were these another example of him bringing back words from the medieval era, as he plainly is doing in several other passages? Did every English suburban schmo from the 60's know tilth, oast, garner, and byre? What was his point in writing this sentence?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 1 2013, 7:53am

Post #7 of 34 (193 views)
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That seems like an example of words used for sound and rhythm, as much as anything [In reply to] Can't Post

The sentence sounds great (try reading it aloud). The reader doesn't need to know exactly what these obscure agricultural terms mean to get the picture in a haiku-like way (more words= less communicated).

Similarly, there are thunderous, climaxing, oratorical monster sentences which build through far more clauses than a junior copy editor would allow (unless he/she was reading instead of just copyediting).

The following Silmarillion passage (only 3 sentences!) is a great example (& one Finwe has posted as a favourite in earlier threads like this - hope I'm not preempting you this time Finwe!)



Quote
"Then Fingolfin beheld (as it seemed to him) the utter ruin of the Noldor, and the defeat beyond redress of all their houses; and filled with wrath and despair the mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him. He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglish like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking Orome himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like eyes of the Valar. Thus he came alone to Angband's gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came."


Wow (if you read it aloud, at least!)

As a chronic speed-reader and devourer of great hunks of plot, I often don't get these effects on the first few goes. I know that such personal reading styles must have a big effect on what different readers get from a book. Recently, family noWizardme was listening to the Audiobook of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Wishing to refer in conversation to the wizard prison, I realised I wasn't at all sure how any syllables the name has (it seems that I read it "Azk-----an". I could, however, tell you plenty about that place, and it's role in the books). This name blindness amused my wife, who is always very careful about names (reading must pause while the pronunciation guide is consulted). Contrariwise, she could not remember who the Heir of Slytherin was (that's the villain of that story, whose identity is mysterious until near the end). Which amused me: I'll usually retain plot details for a long time after reading.

Audiobooks are therefore a very different experience to reading for me. I'm currently hoping to find one of Tolkien's "Homecoming of Be--Hort---noth" (as you'll understand, I haven't figured how to say that name!

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!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Sep 1 2013, 7:55am)


elaen32
Gondor


Sep 1 2013, 11:39pm

Post #8 of 34 (176 views)
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Might be able to help with some of these.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Oast is possibly the only one in current modern usage and that mostly in Kent in SE England- an Oast House was a brick building with a conical or pyramidal roof, in which hops for beer-making were dried. Nowadays, most oasts have been made into houses- often des-res- very interesting to have a circular house, which some oasts are.
A byre is a barn or covered pen for keeping animals in- usually cattle
Garner was a building where newly harvested stook of wheat, barley etc were stored prior to threshing
Tilth is, I think, a ploughed field or area of cultivated arable land

I therefore think that Tolkien was trying to illustrate the wealth and productivity of the townlands, the variety of produce available to feed Minas Tirith etc. The words used would have been familiar to people of his generation and probably his children's generation too. I doubt he thought twice about using them, although to us they sound archaic


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



Na Vedui
Rohan


Sep 1 2013, 11:54pm

Post #9 of 34 (183 views)
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Tilth, oast, garner and byre [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I can't answer for the rest of England, but:

Tilth - was unfamiliar as a noun (though I have heard it since) but "tilling the soil" is fairly well known, so this could be guessed.

Oast - I did know about oast-houses for drying hops, so that was ok. Readers from Kent would be ahead of the game there, as that was a big hop-growing area; people from London and elsewhere also used to go there for the hop-picking season.

Garner - unfamiliar as a noun, but garnering sheaves i.e. gathering them in, was familiar.

Byre - fairly familiar if old-fashioned term for a cattle-shed/cow-house.

I'm not sure where I originally picked up any of this vocabulary; having always been a voracious reader, the trail is pretty muddied by now. People who read Thomas Hardy's novels and stuff like that would be well away, I guess.


elaen32
Gondor


Sep 2 2013, 12:14am

Post #10 of 34 (181 views)
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Snap.. [In reply to] Can't Post

See my post above yours. Are you from Kent too, Na Vedui?


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 12:20am

Post #11 of 34 (164 views)
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Thank you both for the definitions! [In reply to] Can't Post

Contextually you get the feel but its nice to know the words themselves.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Na Vedui
Rohan


Sep 2 2013, 1:18am

Post #12 of 34 (179 views)
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Not Kent but... [In reply to] Can't Post

South Yorkshire, though I now live in West Wales. No oast-houses in either place, as far as I know, so goodness knows why I knew about them as a child.


squire
Valinor


Sep 2 2013, 4:30am

Post #13 of 34 (165 views)
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Vocab break! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to all for your thoughts on these words – clearly more familiar to those of you who live closer to English farm country than I do. I’ve been inspired by everyone's replies to do a little vocab research and see just what the words of this sentence are telling us.

The townlands were rich, with wide tilth and many orchards, and homesteads there were with oast and garner, fold and byre, and many rills rippling through the green from the highlands down to Anduin. -LotR V.1

Townlands (Old English tun, enclosure), I had always thought, was a word for farmlands that are near to a town or city – as with the Pelennor Fields that surround the city of Minas Tirith. But on looking it up online, the only meaning I find is: ‘the smallest geographical division of land’, in a medieval setting. (The term is still in use in Ireland today, but has fallen out of use in England.) I guess the point here is that the landscape is broken up into numerous distinguishable agricultural communities; it’s not just one undifferentiated plantation or estate.
Tilth (Old English tilian, obtain) refers to soil that has been prepared for cultivation, or which is highly suitable for cultivation: aerated, moist, fertile, broken up and ready to plant. Clearly in this case we are to imagine extensive fields that have been plowed or mowed in preparation for the spring planting.
Orchard (Old English ortgeard, plant-yard). The “wide tilth” is paired with “many orchards”, so we see that the Pelennor is productive of both grains and fruit, as one would expect of a landscape that supports a major city. But there’s no mention of garden vegetables, or truck – is that odd?
Homestead (Old English hamstede, home-place) is a collection of agricultural buildings, typically a farmhouse and its outbuildings.
Oast (Old English ast, kiln), my single favorite word in the passage, is short for oast house. It is a farmyard structure that dries fresh hops in preparation for adding them to brewed beer. It has a distinctive conical roof. Oast houses first appeared in England in the 1500s. The hop plant, used to flavor sweet malt beer with a bitter tinge, thrives in northern temperate lands like England and Germany. So we can make some interesting statements about Tolkien’s inclusion of oast in his picture of the Pelennor Fields.
  • One, it tends to post-date Gondor from being a medieval state to being a bit more modern, although most people would not place Middle-earth in 1500s Europe. Of course, Tolkien was not averse to such seeming anachronisms when they served his purposes, and it’s hardly a point of criticism to make a stand on.
  • More creatively considered, oasts are picturesque and distinctive in silhouette; they add flavor and contrast to the word-picture of the landscape.
  • Next, we now know that beer is brewed in Gondor, at least around Minas Tirith. This is in direct contrast to the notable mention of the wines drunk and served by the Steward and his social class. We’ve noted this distinction of beverages in previous discussions as another clue that Gondor represents a Mediterranean culture in Middle-earth in contrast to the “Northern” (i.e., British or Germanic) cultures of Rohan, the Shire, and Eriador in general. (Now, in a little while we’ll see Beregond put together a soldiers’ picnic with Pippin that includes ale – which in older times was essentially a weak beer that lacked hops. So -- just who was drinking the hopped beer in Minas Tirith?).
  • Lastly, how the climate accommodates the cultivation of hops in Gondor is less clear, since we are told repeatedly that Gondor is in a southern region with warmer weather, but let that one go.

Garner (Middle English <- Old French gernier, granary) is an older word for ‘granary’, or storage house for grain. The associated verb to garner, or gather for storage, survives while the noun really hasn’t. Interestingly, the word comes from Old French and ultimately Latin (granarium, place of grains). Tolkien has a reputation for shunning English words that come from the Norman Invasion, but that is a myth, really. He’s not so foolish as to ban a large part of his language’s vocabulary on principle. What he does do, in my observation, is choose the word with Old English roots as opposed to French roots, when there are two such words of roughly equal meaning (as we saw in a recent discussion of Tom Bombadil, who is described as “merry” (Old English mirige) many times, but as “jolly” (Middle English <- Old French joli) only once). And he’s sure doing that here, too. You may have noticed that I’m giving the etymology of the vocab words in this post; how many are Old English?
Fold (Old English fald) is a fenced enclosure for sheep. Thus Minas Tirith has a supply of wool and sheepskin for clothing, mutton for meat, and milk for cheese.
Byre (Old English bur, chamber) is a cattle-barn, or shelter for livestock. In this context it informs us that beef, cows-milk and butter, horn, vellum and cow-leather are local products in Minas Tirith.
Rill (Old English rith, rivulet) is a small brook. Clearly there is no lack of fresh water for irrigation, watering animals, and other agricultural uses.
Rippling (Middle English ripplen, wrinkle or crease). The slope of the land to the bottom of the Anduin valley is clearly not too steep; here there are no waterfalls (as in Ithilien), just “rippling” watercourses.
Green (Old English grene), grassy land. This reinforces the impression of fertile fields in general, but also reminds us that there are pastures for the stock, not just cropland.

Without getting too much more deeply into this rather wonderful sentence – like repeating my long-standing complaint about how it was misrepresented in the New Line film, for instance; or getting into the blank-verse rhythm of the prose; or the use of alliteration, assonance, and inverted word order – I now see how well structured it is as pure description.

The townlands were rich, with wide tilth and many orchards, and homesteads there were with oast and garner, fold and byre, and many rills rippling through the green from the highlands down to Anduin. -LotR V.1

If we diagram it, we see these few dozen words become an entire agricultural census:
I. The land is divided into many small agricultural districts.
-A. Extensive and fertile fields of crops.
-B. Numerous fruit orchards.
II. The farms are built up and well-developed.
-A. Structures for processing crops:
--i. Hop-kilns with conical roofs.
--ii. Granaries for wheat, barley, rye, etc.
-B. Structures for housing livestock:
--i. Sheep pens.
--ii. Cattle barns.
III. The landscape is well watered, on a hillside.
-A. Many brooks.
-B. Plenty of rich pastureland.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Sep 2 2013, 7:40am

Post #14 of 34 (161 views)
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Tilth and oast [In reply to] Can't Post

Spectacular, thank you, squire! Just a couple of minor amplifications:


Quote
Tilth (Old English tilian, obtain) refers to soil that has been prepared for cultivation, or which is highly suitable for cultivation: aerated, moist, fertile, broken up and ready to plant. Clearly in this case we are to imagine extensive fields that have been plowed or mowed in preparation for the spring planting.
Orchard (Old English ortgeard, plant-yard). The “wide tilth” is paired with “many orchards”, so we see that the Pelennor is productive of both grains and fruit, as one would expect of a landscape that supports a major city. But there’s no mention of garden vegetables, or truck – is that odd?


It's March, early spring. The tilth has just been tilled. The vegetables haven't been planted yet, but they will be as soon as all this war business dies down. Orchards, on the other hand, carry on year to year, unless the fighting is too intense.

Oast: Gotta have a picture.
Oasts in Kent:


Maybe even a diagram:









(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Sep 2 2013, 7:44am)


Elizabeth
Valinor


Sep 2 2013, 8:02am

Post #15 of 34 (157 views)
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From the Sil: [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Then Fingolfin beheld (as it seemed to him) the utter ruin of the Noldor, and the defeat beyond redress of all their houses; and filled with wrath and despair he mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him. He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Oromë himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar. Thus he came alone to Angband’s gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.


The sheer extremity of Fingolfin's despair and rage and consequent breathtaking audacity develops a rhythm that is completely dashed by the thudding finality of the last sentence.








sador
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 11:00am

Post #16 of 34 (158 views)
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You don't say, Mr. Mugwort! [In reply to] Can't Post

Who would have thought the beer-industry in Gondor was more advanced than in Bree (if the most common name among Bree hobbits was Mugwort, I suppose this was connected to the local industry)?
I wonder whether Sam's comment to Barliman regarding Strider and the Bree-beer have to do with an intimate knowledge of Aragorn's taste...


Thank you, as usual, for branching into yet another fascinating topic!



Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 3:07pm

Post #17 of 34 (149 views)
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Nice to see you Sador! [In reply to] Can't Post

With all the news you have been on my mind - hoping all is and stays well by you. Angelic

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Barrow-Wight
Rohan


Sep 2 2013, 3:43pm

Post #18 of 34 (143 views)
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I don't think I have a favorite [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll have to think about it though if I do though it's not for any poetic or grammatical reasons lol it may be just be because it sounds epic or cool. But Since reading Lord Of The Rings I've noticed that I talk like a hobbit now especially Sam


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 2 2013, 4:39pm

Post #19 of 34 (142 views)
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Any quote you like is fine! :) [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't have to be poetic, epic, or profound; you might like it for another reason.

It doesn't have to be your one and only favourite (and I trust no-one will send for their axe if there is disagreement about favourites! Wink

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!"


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 2 2013, 5:20pm

Post #20 of 34 (139 views)
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Ax me another one. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It doesn't have to be your one and only favourite (and I trust no-one will send for their axe if there is disagreement about favourites! Wink





No need to send for an axe; mine is within easy reach. You might say, it's ready to hand. Or to unhand. So, what's your favourite, Erchamion? Tongue




They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.


sador
Half-elven


Sep 2 2013, 5:41pm

Post #21 of 34 (135 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I will be around rather less over the coming month, but will try and read your discussion on letter #131, and possibly contribute a bit.
Hopefully I will have more time for TORn come October.


CuriousG
Valinor


Sep 2 2013, 5:45pm

Post #22 of 34 (136 views)
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Last sentence [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, that last sentence on its own wouldn't seem scary, would it? But it's like the crescendo of a musical passage and hits me in the face every time, and I mean every time.


CuriousG
Valinor


Sep 2 2013, 5:53pm

Post #23 of 34 (138 views)
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Everything about Theoden just comes across as good [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't necessarily think that on first read, because I was a kid and kings are remote and intimidating, but on subsequent reads, Theoden ranks among the most charming and considerate characters in LOTR.

Hence my quote for the month from Merry, especially the last part. How many powerful people go out of their way to be kind to people who are of no use to them?


Quote
He said he was sorry he had never had a chance of talking herb-lore with me. Almost the last thing he ever said. I shan't ever be able to smoke again without thinking of him, and that day, Pippin, when he rode up to Isengard and was so polite.


Thanks for reigniting this regular thread, Wiz.


CuriousG
Valinor


Sep 2 2013, 5:57pm

Post #24 of 34 (139 views)
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Endless favorites [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, most of us have more favorites than you could stick in an oast or byre, which is why noWizardme made this a monthly feature. You don't have to pick one, ultimate, uber-fantastical line, just something memorable and important to you.


CuriousG
Valinor


Sep 2 2013, 5:59pm

Post #25 of 34 (132 views)
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Elbow armor [In reply to] Can't Post

I notice your armor has an open space on the inside of the elbow joint, which would be necessary so you could bend your arm, but doesn't that make it an easy target in combat? Or would soldiers have added something more pliable over the top, like hide or leather?

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